Congress Did Something Extraordinary for Vulnerable Children

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From The Intercept: A new piece of legislation attempting to revolutionize the foster care system recently passed despite significant opposition. The Family First Prevention Services Act allows states to use federal funds for preventative mental health and substance use programs to keep at-risk children in their homes instead of the foster system.

“‘The Family First Prevention Services Act will usher in the most significant improvements to the child welfare system in decades and provide real help to families to fight the opioid epidemic,’ Wyden said in a statement. ‘We owe our most vulnerable children the best chance to stay with their families when it’s safe to keep them at home and the highest standards of care to protect children who are already in foster care.’

Children are taken from their families in cases of abuse but more often than not, Sandy Santana, executive director for Children’s Rights, said, kids enter the foster care system because of neglect that stems primarily from issues of poverty or substance abuse.

‘With the opioid epidemic, more and more kids are coming into the system because their parents are dependent on opioids,’ Santana said. ‘For the government now to redirect funding for substance abuse and preventative services to keep those kids that are at risk of entering foster care with their families is a big, big deal.'”

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