Family First Prevention Services Act Planning and Implementation Consulting

On February 9, 2018, Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) to restructure how the federal government funds child welfare programs. Family First provides states, local agencies, and tribes opportunities to use federal funds in new and expanded ways including promoting the use of trauma-informed, evidence-based interventions and services to prevent the need for foster care placements. It also restricts claiming for residential services in ways that will affect almost every state and locality in the U.S. For more detailed information on Family First, and the opportunities and challenges it poses for your agency, review the resources linked below.

PCG’s combined expertise in child welfare financing, administration, practice, and change management enables us to offer you the following services.


Sustainable ChangeTM – Dream, Explore, Shape, Implement, Nurture

Family First’s new opportunities and challenges demand changes to practice, policy, process, partnerships, structure, culture, financing, and technology. PCG can explore where you are compared to where you want and need to be and plot a solutions-driven roadmap to take you there. We can then support your implementation with strong training, communication, and data-driven monitoring and continuous improvement.

Our sustainable change practice is built upon more than 30 years of experience, curiosity, imagination, and leading practices. Our approach helps organizations:

  • Focus on the right things
  • Set and execute strategy
  • Pivot amid change
  • Make great decisions
  • Build capacity

Procurement and Provider Management

Family First’s focus on federally-approved evidence-based practices has implications for the way you contract for services. Our provider management and procurement experts can help you revise procurement documents to reflect new services and standards, develop program monitoring protocols, and manage documentation requirements under the new law. We can work with government and provider stakeholders to review effectiveness of existing contracting policies, identify recommendations to streamline contracting processes, and determine the most effective payment modalities to drive the outcomes your children and families need.

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Funding Strategy and Administration

Family First will impact how every state and locality funds child welfare services. That impact will be complex and vary from place to place. The picture is still unfolding as the Federal Administration for Children and Families has not yet issued all needed regulations. Our industry-leading child welfare financing services can help you respond rapidly to what we already know and be ready to respond as final regulations come to light. We can review all funding sources currently paying for child welfare services affected by Family First, including Title IV-E, Title IV-B, Medicaid, TANF, Social Services Block Grant, regional partnership grants, state general fund, and other public and private grants.

We can help optimize block grant funds and shift eligible costs to entitlement programs. As an example, Family First allows for longer-term reunification programming but does not include any additional funding. We can scour existing use of Title IV-B to identify opportunities to shift existing Title IV-B costs to other eligible fund sources to make room for more reunification service costs.  We can also work with you to estimate costs of expanding or implementing new prevention services, complying with new residential requirements, and implementing the new rules for residential foster care.

Information Technology System Impacts

We can help you identify existing and new functionality in your Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) or non-CCWIS system to meet Family First requirements. Our business integration experts can work with your team to prepare business requirements, conduct testing and training for new functionality, and optimize data exchanges between and reporting from interoperable systems. All our recommendations will be filtered through the lens of supporting casework decisions and reducing the administrative burden on workers.

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Process Analysis and Design

Family First provides a platform for evolving inefficient, legacy ways of working into ones that are faster and smarter. Where Family First involves changes to data systems, reviewing and refreshing business processes is a “must do” area of action to ensure that information technology automates the right processes, in the right ways. Our process analysis and design practice uses an intuitive methodology that builds upon well-known management methods and recognizes the unique wrinkles involved in doing this work in a public-sector context. While we have instituted a standard approach and toolkit for completing business process redesign, we remain agile, recognizing this work as both science and art that needs to adapt to individual client needs.

Our process analysis and design efforts take place in two major phases: As-Is Analysis and To-Be Design. During these phases, we apply a series of techniques to determine the root causes of process problems and develop sound and feasible solutions. The first phase focuses on exploring current processes and barriers to operational efficiency. The second phase focuses on developing and prioritizing solutions for each of those barriers.

Practice Analysis and Design

Family First challenges states and localities to examine their child welfare practices through lenses of prevention, qualified residential treatment, evidence-based practices, and trauma informed practices. It challenges states and localities to make every effort to keep families intact and prevent children and youth from needing foster care. Family First also calls for residential treatment to be used solely when demonstrated to be right for a child, with children and youth served by Qualified Residential Treatment Programs.

PCG has child welfare practice expertise from across the system of care: from the front line to executive leadership; across child protection, juvenile justice, mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disability; with public agencies and private providers. We can help identify what you’re currently doing that will carry over well into a Family First environment, what needs to change, and what evidence-based and trauma-informed practices may be the best fit for your families, children, youth, and providers.

About Public Consulting Group

Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG) is a leading public sector management consulting and operations improvement firm that partners with health, education, and human services agencies to improve lives. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, PCG has nearly 2,000 professionals in more than 50 offices around the US, in Canada and in Europe. PCG’s Human Services practice helps state, county, and municipal human services agencies to achieve their performance goals in order to better serve populations in need. PCG’s Human Services’ seasoned professionals offer proven solutions to help agencies design programs, services, and systems; increase program revenue; cut costs; and improve regulatory compliance with state and federal regulations. To learn more, visit

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