What is Family First?

The Family First Act underscores the importance of children growing up in families and seeks to avoid the traumatic experience of children being separated from their families and entering foster care. Specifically, funding is available for trauma informed, evidence-based, foster care prevention services within the following categories:

  • Mental Health Prevention and Treatment Services
  • Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Services
  • In-Home Parent Skill-Based Programs

Family First aims to improve the well-being of children already in foster care by incentivizing states to reduce placement of children in non-family based placements, and instead place children in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate to their individual needs.

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Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse

The long awaited Clearinghouse review was released on June 21, 2019. The Prevention Services Clearinghouse, developed in accordance with the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), rates programs and services...Read More

Release of the Prevention Services Handbook

After much anticipation, the Prevention Services Clearinghouse Handbook has been released...Read More


Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) Information Session

Under the Family First Prevention Services Act(Family First), the Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) was designed to address the needs of foster youth...Read More


Family First...

Support IconSupports

The VDSS overaching mission that kids should grow up in a safe, stable and secure family that supports their long-term well-being.

Uphold IconUpholds

Children do best in families and families do best in strong, supportive communities. Family First ensures a family first for children and teens by providing prevention services to keep children safe and families together.

Invest IconInvests

This program is the largest investment in the child welfare system in nearly 40 years.

Family First Services

Family in the kitchen cooking

Prevention Services

Target resources and services that prevent foster care placements and help children remain safely in their homes.

Mother helping her daughter read

Foster Care Services

Ensure children maintain family connections needed for healthy development and emotional well-being while finding safe, permanent homes for children as quickly as possible.

Elderly couple with young children playing in fallen leaves

Evidence-Based Programs

Advance the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based, trauma-informed services that appropriately and effectively improve child safety, ensure permanency, and promote child and family well-being.