As implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act gradually rolls out, Los Angeles County anticipated that the move away from its special agreement on federal child welfare funding would mean an annual loss of more than $200 million. But legislation passed late last month could help them hold on to most of that money, for now.

The Family First Transition Act (FFTA), passed along with the last-minute spending bill signed into law in late December, includes new funding and regulatory changes that are aimed at helping states ease into implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act. The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) estimates that the transition bill will provide nearly $300 million over the next two years.

“Without FFTA, our clients would have faced an abrupt end to such services when the waiver expired,” said Bobby Cagle, director of L.A.’s DCFS, in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change. “Now, thanks to the FFTA, we can take a more deliberative approach, and transition from the waiver to Family First over the next two years.”

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