Wenstrup Joins Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers to Introduce the Family First Transition Act

Washington, November 14, 2019 Contact: Ann Tumolo (202-225-3164)

Washington, D.C. – Last week, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce the Family First Transition Act, which would provide states with the time and resources necessary to implement prevention programs and services that keep children at home rather than placed into foster care.

“The goal of this important bill is to reduce the need to send children to an overcrowded foster care system whenever possible. This legislation is what we need to ensure a smooth transition to Family First and enable states to provide these evidence-based prevention services as efficiently as possible. I am encouraged that the Family First Transition Act has bipartisan support in both chambers, and I urge House and Senate leadership to see that this bill is passed as quickly as possible. Together, we can give struggling families the resources they need to stay together," said Wenstrup.

Upon introduction of the bill, Rep. Kevin Brady, the head Republican on the Ways & Means Committee, released the following statement:

“Family First will be a game changer for our foster care system when it’s fully implemented.  The bipartisan law will keep more American families intact and offer brighter futures for our communities by embracing evidence-based approaches for vulnerable children and parents.  It’s crucial we continue to work with states so they can fully embrace these changes, and the Family First Transition Act, which is being championed by Republican Reps. Jackie Walorski, Brad Wenstrup, Vern Buchanan, and Ron Estes in the Ways and Means Committee, achieves that by giving our states the necessary time and resources to help bring their child welfare programs into the 21st century.”

In 2018, the bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act (“Family First”) was signed into law. Family First supports state-level investments aimed at keeping families intact and reducing the number of children entering foster care. By providing states with matching funding for evidence-based services to address substance abuse, mental health, and other parenting challenges, Family First addresses the root causes of children being removed from their homes in an effort to keep more families together.

The newly-introduced Family First Transition Act builds on these opportunities by ensuring states can take advantage of these new federal resources to stabilize families, keep children safe at home, and lower the demand for foster care placements. The Family First Transition Act would provide states with a temporary infusion of flexible resources to build out prevention programming, review existing programs for evidence-based results, transition their financing structures and IT systems, serve more families, and, ultimately, get to full implementation of Family First.  

Rep. Wenstrup joined Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Danny Davis (D-IL), the leaders of the House Ways & Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, alongside a bipartisan group of members, in introducing this bill.

Text of the Family First Transition Act can be found here.

A summary of the bill can be found here.