Research-To-Practice Brief

How Are States Building Community-Based Pathways to Prevention Services Through Family First?

Though high-quality services for families are critical, implementing community pathways is about much more than expanding services. The concept of community pathways represents an opportunity to craft a fundamentally different experience for families, especially those who may distrust public entities or consider child protection punitive and threatening. The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) allows states and tribes to use federal Title IV-E funds for prevention services that support children living safely with their families. Family First provides an opportunity to reorient child welfare and advance transformation in terms of the types of services offered, and how and where families access them. Through community pathways, approved entities such as community-based organizations, prevention services providers, and other public agencies may deliver support and perform required Family First administrative functions. To date, at least 14 states have articulated a community pathways approach in their Family First Prevention Plan. This Casey Family brief highlights three unique approaches to building community pathways while using Family First as a strategic lever.

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