Buchanan Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Strengthen America’s Families

June 13, 2016 — Press Releases   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) led a bipartisan group of Committee members to introduce the Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456). The legislation will keep more children safely at home and out of inappropriate foster care placements by promoting evidence-based services that support parents and strengthen families. Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Senate Finance Committee will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

Upon introducing the legislation, Chairman Buchanan said:

“We know that strong families make for strong communities. That’s why the Family First Prevention Services Act is so important given the current opioid and heroin crisis. This bill is a departure from an outdated system that focuses on caring for children only after they enter into foster care, and instead invests in proven prevention services, including substance abuse treatment, that will keep families together. This legislation offers the types of support that parents need to provide the safe and stable home every child deserves.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) added:

“The Family First Prevention Services Act will help more children grow up in a safe home, surrounded by a stable family. I applaud Chairman Buchanan and Senators Hatch and Wyden for introducing this important legislation. I look forward to advancing this legislation so we can strengthen America’s families and deliver positive outcomes for children.”

The Family First Prevention Services Act strengthens families and reduces inappropriate foster care placements by:

  • Giving states flexibility to use federal foster care dollars to provide upfront, evidence-based prevention services — such as parent training and individual and family therapy — to prevent inappropriate foster care placements and improve outcomes for children and parents.
  • Ensuring more foster children are placed with families by ending federal reimbursement when states inappropriately place children in non-family settings.
  • Keeping children safe by reauthorizing the Regional Partnership Grant program that provides funding to state and local evidence-based services aimed at preventing child abuse and child neglect due to parental substance abuse.
  • Reducing the amount of time foster children wait to be adopted or placed with relatives across state lines by encouraging states to replace their outdated child placement systems with a more efficient electronic system.
  • Supporting family members who unexpectedly assume responsibility for a child by providing important caregiver resources and eliminating unnecessary paperwork.

 

Original Cosponsors of H.R. 5456:
Sander Levin (D-MI)
Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA)
Diane Black (R-TN)
Tom Reed (R-NY)
Mike Kelly (R-PA)
Robert Dold (R-IL)
John Larson (D-CT)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

For a summary of the bill, click here.
For draft bill text, click here. 

SUBCOMMITTEE: Human Resources