IV-E Preventative Services


The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018

On February 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law the landmark bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) as part of the Division E in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892). Family First includes historic reforms to help keep children safely with thier families and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care, emphasizes the importance of children growing up in families and helps ensure children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate to their special needs when foster care is needed. The timing of the FFPSA c‚Äčame when West Virginia was already engaged in several initiatives to reform our child welfare system.

West Virginia began implementing FFPSA on October 1, 2019. Our state views this as an exciting opportunity to leverage these changes wtih existing initiatives in order to create lasting changes in our child welfare system.  Our state sees FFPSA as a tool to help us realize our vision to develop a proactive system which preserves safe and healthy families and correct a decades-old reliance on out-of-home care, specifically congregate care. Through the restructuring requirements, the focus on keeping children in the least restrictive setting, as well as the focus on primary prevention services, we believe FFPSA to be the much-needed missing piece of the puzzle.

      For basic information about FFPSA, you can visit here and here.

      To review West Virginia's vision for FFPSA, please review our Child and Family Services Plan for 2020-2024.


The Family First Prevention Services Transition Act of 2019

On December 20, 2019, Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Transition Act. The FFPSA Transition Act provides supports and resources to assist states with implementing their programs.

The FFPSA Transition Act outlines three provisions:

  1. Temporary suspension (two years) of the 50% requirement for IV-E claiming in well-supported services;
  2. Short-term funding certainty for some states with expiring Title IV-E waivers;
  3. Temporary grant funding to all states to support development of prevention program.
Learn more about the FFPSA Transition Act here.


Family First Title IV-E Prevention Services

The primary intent of the Family First Prevention Services Act is to change the way child welfare agencies work with famiies. The federal government no longer incentivizes out-of-home placements by only paying Title IV-E after children are removed. The FFPSA will allow states to claim funds for providing in-home parenting education, mental health and substance abuse services to families who have children in imminent risk of foster care, in an effort to keep families together.  If states continue to remove children at the current rates, there will never be enough residential or foster care beds to meet our needs.  The goal is to reduce the trauma to families and children that removal causes through serving families in their homes and communities.

West Virginia's Title IV-E Prevention Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. Click here to access a copy of the Title IV-E Prevention Plan.

Prevention is a concept that often requires the child welfare staff to do the nearly impossible in a crisis-driven system and think outside their child protection activities after maltreatment has occurred. True primary prevention requires focus to be put on families who are not yet engaged with the child welfare agency due to abuse, neglect and/or juvenile justice issues.

In response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' call to action, DHHR has been refining prevention vision over the past year. DHHR's Bureau for Public Health and Bureau for Social Services have been embedded in primary prevention for many years and will be instrumental in enhancing the prevention services opportunities that come with FFPSA.


Prevention services currently being offered in West Virginia are as follows:

Healthy Families America (HFA)

HFA is an intense voluntary home visiting program model designed to work with families who may have histories of trauma, intimate partner violence, mental health issues, substance abuse issues or are at-risk for child abuse and neglect and other adverse childhood experiences. Specificially, it is for parents/caregivers of children ages birth to two years old.  Home visit services may be initiated prior to the birth of a baby if they are assessed to be at high risk for abuse/neglect.  Otherwise, if assessed to be at high risk at birth services should begin within three months.

For Authorization:

  • Parent must be pregnant or parenting a newborn
  • Service must be referred by a BSS caseworker
  • Child must remain in their home
  • Children in DHHR custody who have returned home for a trial visit
  • DHHR Prevention or Case Plan must be provided or service cannot be authorized; a provider plan will not substitute this requirement
  • May also be used for children in foster care who are pregnant and/or parenting
Please go to the Prevention Forms section to access the following enrollment forms:

  • HFA Enrollment Form
  • FPSA UM Guidelines for Healthy Families America


Parents as Teachers (PAT)

Parents as Teachers is a home-visiting parent education program that teaches new an expectant parents skills intended to promote positive child development and prevent child maltreatment.  The program can target certain risk factors, or it may be used as an overall preventative program. Families can begin the program prenatally and continue through when their child enters kindergarten.  Sessions are typically held for one hour in the family's home, but can also be delivered in schools, child care centers or other community spaces.

For Authorization:

  • Service must be referred to Bureau of Social Services
  • Child must remain in their home
  • Children in DHHR custody who have returned home for a trial period
  • DHHR Prevention or Case Plan must be provided or service cannot be authorized; a provider plan will not substitute this requirement
  • May also be used for children in foster care who are pregnant and/or parenting

Please go to the Prevention Forms section to access the following enrollment forms:

  • PAT Enrollment Form
  • FFPSA UM Guidelines for Parents as Teachers


For more information, email Andrea Ramsey-Mitchell at Andrea.N.RamseyMitchell@wv.gov.