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.

Latest News

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Family First Implementation Update

Family First funding is expected to be available July 1, 2021 for the provision of evidence-based programs. Fiscal changes related to payments for youth in foster care is also expected to begin on July 1, 2021... Read More


Winter 2020 Three Branch Meeting

The final Three Branch Team meeting took place on December 14, 2020. The team convened to discuss the extension of the Family First implementation date, due to unexpected delays and the Covid Pandemic... Read More


QRTP's

We are pleased to share that we have received 30 QRTP applications. We applaud these programs for their commitment to delivering high quality services to youth in foster care... Read More


Family First...

Support IconSupports

The VDSS overarching 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.