Beginning April 1, 2023, VDSS will suspend QRTP designations and IV-E claiming for placements of children in foster care in QRTPs. This decision comes after deliberation and with input from multiple stakeholder groups and individuals. VDSS is committed to ensuring that children and youth who need a level of treatment that can only be provided in a congregate care setting receive quality care that is trauma-informed. VDSS intends to work towards bringing back the QRTP designation when this can be done successfully. Questions may be directed to

What does this Mean?

When a child needs a higher level of support, a non-family like setting may be needed (group home or a psychiatric residential treatment facility). Family First encourages non family-based placements to be temporary, focusing on individual children’s needs, and preparing them for return to family and community life.

Family First creates a specific non family-based placement type and a structure around placing children in these types of placements. The new placement type is called a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).

Why does this Matter?

Federal funding for foster youth with specific treatment needs will only be available for non family-based placements that qualify as a QRTP.

What is a Qualified Residential Treatment Program(QRTP)?

A Qualified Residential Treatment Program is a new designation of non-family based placements by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). QRTPs serve children with specific treatment needs who need short term placement out of their home. Upon implementation of Family First in Virginia, Title IV-E funds can only be used for non-family based placements which are designated as QRTPs.

Family First requires that QRTPs meet the following requirements:

  • Accredited by at least one of the following:
    • The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
    • Council on Accreditation
    • The Teaching Family Association
    • Educational Assessment Guidelines Leading toward Excellence (EAGLE)
  • Utilize a trauma-informed treatment model
  • Must be staffed by a registered or accredited nursing and clinical staff in accordance with the treatment model who:
    • Provide care within the scope of their practice as defined by state law
    • Are on-site according to the treatment model
    • Are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week
  • Be inclusive of family members in the treatment process and documents the extent of their involvement
  • Offer at least six months of support after discharge

What is the QRTP Placement Process?

  • Within 30 days of a youth being placed in a qualified residential treatment program, an assessment must be performed by a “qualified individual” to determine if a qualified residential treatment program is the best fit for them. In Virginia, a “qualified individual” means a licensed mental health professional. (As defined in 12VAC35-105-20.)
  • Within 60 days of a foster youth's placement in a QRTP, a court review must take place to approve or disapprove the placement. The Court will consider the 30 day assessment and determine whether the needs of the youth can be met through placement in a foster family home or whether or not the QRTP provides the most effective and appropriate level of care for the youth, as specified in the permanency plan for the youth.
  • A QRTP placement must be reviewed by the VDSS Commissioner and the United States Department Health and Human Services Secretary if a foster youth 14 years of age or older has been placed in a QRTP for 12 consecutive months or 18 non-consecutive months.
    • A QRTP placement must be reviewed by the VDSS Commissioner and the United States Department Health and Human Services Secretary if a foster youth 13 years of age or younger has been placed in a QRTP for 6 consecutive months.

Application Process

DFS hosted a webinar on QRTPs and the application process

  • Click here to review the PowerPoint used for the webinar.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.
If you would like to apply to be a QRTP, download and complete the initial application. Additional details regarding the application process can be found on the application itself. Included in the application is an example of how to structure and label your QRTP application. The example provides instructions on how to complete and submit the application and required documents. Thorough labeling helps the reviewers accurately locate the information and documents referenced. This example is not an example of what to include in your application.

If you have any questions after reviewing the application, please refer to the FAQ section below. If you have a question about what documentation to include please review our "Tip Sheet." If you have any questions after that, please contact the Family First Team at

Please email your application to Please let us know if you have any problems submitting your application.

Click here for QRTP Frequently Asked Questions

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