Federal Legislation Overhauls Funding for Foster Care in Wisconsin

Last Wednesday, legislators were given the opportunity to learn more about recently passed federal legislation called the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) that overhauls how states fund child welfare services. The program prioritizes keeping families together through preventative services and improving the environment for children that enter the foster care system.

FFPSA was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. FFPSA primarily changes how federal Title IV-E funds may be spent by states. Previously the funds could only be used to help with basic foster care maintenance for eligible children, administrative expenses, training for staff, new foster parents and private agency staff among other things.

The new law gives states the option to use funds for prevention services upon approval of a written plan from each state outlining how the funds will be used. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for providing states with guidance and approving the written plan.

In the coming months, Wisconsin will need to develop legislation to ensure the Department of Children and Families is compliant with federal law to maximize the federal reimbursement offered through FFPSA.

The informational hearing included presentations by the Department of Children and Families and the non-partisan National Council on State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL is a bipartisan non-governmental organization based in Colorado that provides resources to help state legislature’s across the country solve some of the toughest public policy issues.

Tours and Conversations from the District

Last week, amid meetings in the district, I had the opportunity to tour a local business, Sunset Options Funeral Home in Oak Creek. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and it's great to see more of them opening shop in our community!

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Following the tour, I held in-district office hours in South Milwaukee to hear from constituents about issues that impact our district. I appreciate the opportunity to hear their suggestions to improve public policy.

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On September, 30th I will be at the Oak Creek Public Library for more great conversations with constituents. If you’re interested feel free to stop by from 5:30 – 6:30 pm in the technology training lab located on the second floor.

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