Help pass the Family First ACtWe are coming down to the wire on the Family First Prevention Services Act, a major bipartisan bill that would strengthen the child welfare system! The House passed the bill in June, and the Senate urgently needs to pass the Family First Act this week if it is to become law this year.

Tuesday, Sept. 20 is the DAY OF ACTION to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act! It is critical that Senators hear from as many constituents as possible on this day!

  1. Call your Senators’ offices and use the talking points below. To reach your Senators’ offices, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected. Not sure of your Senators’ names? Click here. Be sure to call both of your Senators’ offices!
  • As your constituent, I am calling to urge Senator _____ to support the Family First Prevention Services Act (S. 3065/H.R. 5456). The House of Representatives passed the bill with unanimous support in June. It is now time for the Senate to Act by passing the bill.
  • This bill would improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in [insert state]. It would allow child welfare dollars to be used for prevention services to keep families together and prevent unnecessary foster care placements.
  • It is critical that the Senate act this week to pass the bill. If the bill does not pass by September 30, the end of the fiscal year, a large portion of the offsets included in the bill will expire.
  • Please let Senator ____ know how important the Family First Prevention Services Act is, and that children and families in his/her state would benefit from the bill.
  • Thank you.

Not able to make phone calls? Click here to send an email your Senators.

  1. Tweet at your Senators. Be sure to include both of your Senators’ Twitter handles in the sample post below! Click here to find your Senators’ Twitter handles.

Pass the #FamilyFirst Act to keep kids out of foster care!

Background: The Senate is poised to recess for the elections without passing the Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456), a bicameral, bipartisan bill that would strengthen federal child welfare law to better protect vulnerable children and families. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5456 with strong bipartisan support on June 21. The bill takes historic steps to ensure more children can stay safely with family and out of foster care by allowing federal child welfare dollars to be used on quality prevention services and programs.

It also encourages the placement of children in foster care in the least restrictive most family-like settings appropriate to their needs with special attention to those needing specialized treatment; addresses the special needs of pregnant and parenting teens; reauthorizes a number of expiring Title IV-B and Title IV-E program provisions; offers supports to help older youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood; improves the interstate placement of children; improves Regional Partnership Grants to help families affected by substance abuse; and continues to recognize and increase supports for grandparents and other relatives who step in to care for children when their parents cannot.

Image credit: Laurel Harvey