Social Welfare Policy: Family First Prevention Services Act


Legislation refers to the body of statutes enacted by a legislature, which is the common name for a law and usually encompasses both a bill and an act. The term can also be used to refer broadly to any rule that has been legally set down. There are three general characteristics of legislation: generality, clarity, and certainty (González, 2021). Generality refers to legislation being broad enough to cover all possible instances of the behavior it seeks to regulate. Clarity means that legislation must be drafted in a clear and concise manner for easier understanding. Certainty requires that the consequences of violating a law must be predictable and known in advance.

A policy is a course of action that a government, company, or organization has decided on to meet specific goals. Policies are normally to be followed by individuals within that entity or by the public. A policy can be a plan of action that is put into place to achieve specific goals. The characteristics of a policy are its scope (the breadth of the policy), its purpose (why the policy exists), and its implementation (the steps taken to put the policy into effect). A good example of a policy is the Affordable Care Act in the United States (Pacheco et al., 2020). The ACA is a broad policy that affects all Americans and aims to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. Its implementation includes provisions such as establishing insurance exchanges, providing subsidies for people who purchase coverage on those exchanges and expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Moreover, there is a profound difference between legislation and policy. Legislation is the law, and the government creates it and sets forth the rules that everyone must live by (González, 2021). Policy, on the other hand, is how those rules are enacted; it is what the government does to carry out the law. Legislation can be broad or specific, but policy always needs to be narrower to be executed. For example, a policy about increasing the minimum wage could include how much the increase will be, when it will take effect, and who will get it. In addition, there are many reasons why people need legislation and policy. Some of the most important reasons are to protect citizens from harm, ensure that everyone has access to basic needs, and create fairness for everyone to succeed. Legislation and policy can equally aid people in achieving other goals, such as improving the economy, protecting the environment, and ensuring justice (Leal Filho et al., 2019). In short, legislation and policy play a very important role in ensuring there are laws that reflect the values and meet the needs of all citizens.

Department of Children and Families Agency

The Department of Children and Families provides critical services to keep children safe, protect victims of abuse and neglect, and promote the well-being of families. They work with at-risk children and families in order to prevent child abuse, neglect, and family violence. I picked this agency because they provide important services that help keep children safe and protected. The work they do is crucial for the well-being of families across the country. The Department of Children and Families is a government agency focused on the social problem of child abuse and neglect (Montanez et al., 2021). In Florida, for example, the DCF is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse or neglect, providing services to children and families in need, and working to prevent child abuse and neglect from happening. Child abuse can take many different forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

One current piece of federal legislation that impacts child abuse and neglect is the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). This act was passed in February 2018, and its goal is to assist in preventing child abuse and neglect before it occurs (Pecora et al., 2018). The act provides funding for family-focused services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, parenting education, and home visiting programs; it also expands support for kinship caregivers.

The FFPSA was passed in order to provide more family-based services as an alternative to placing children into foster care. FFPSA provides federal funding for states to offer services such as in-home parenting counselling and substance abuse treatment for parents and families to find services to keep them together whenever possible (Pecora et al., 2018). It equally enlarges the number of families eligible for kinship care subsidies. The act provides funding for preventive services, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, that can help keep families together (Vandervort, 2020). Additionally, it includes new state requirements to track and report on family-based services.

Policy Analysis

The FFPSA is important legislation that focuses on the social problem of child neglect and abuse. It provides more resources for families in need and helps to keep children out of foster care (Harvey et al., 2021). The intent of the act is to provide support for families so that they can stay together, which is better for the children. A vulnerable population is a group of people who are at a higher risk for negative health outcomes due to their socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. I concluded that the agency reinforces families because it is known for providing support services to families to stay together, and it also funds states to create and avail these services.

The FFPSA is designed to address the service delivery gap for children at risk of entering the child welfare system. The Act focuses on the social, economic, and environmental conditions that place children at risk and provides funding for prevention services to stop or reduce family division. Services funded by the FFPSA include parenting classes, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and housing assistance (Harvey et al., 2021). By providing these services early on, before a child enters care, it is possible to keep families together and prevent further harm to the child. The act benefits children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. FFPSA provides funds to aid states in placing these children in foster families or with relatives, as opposed to institutions.

The FFPSA legislation allows states, local governments, or other entities to apply for funding to provide services that prevent or delay children’s entry into foster care. The legislation also authorizes a new federal funding stream for family-based mental health and substance abuse prevention services. Family First Prevention Services Act legislation funding is available to states that agree to provide preventive services to families with children who are at risk of being placed in foster care (Harvey et al., 2021). Furthermore, states must meet certain eligibility criteria, including demonstrating that they have a child welfare program that is evidence-based and meets certain standards and agrees to comply with the federal requirements for using the funds.


There are both advantages and disadvantages to the FFPSA legislation. On the pros side, family-based services have been shown to be more effective than out-of-home placement in keeping children safe and reducing the likelihood of them entering the foster care system. Concerning the con, FFPSA legislation is not fully funded, so states may have difficulty providing these services (Vandervort, 2020). Apart from FFPSA limitations and benefits, I grew up in a conservative household and was taught that people are basically good but need assistance in times of crisis. That view made me support social welfare legislation that would provide a safety net for people who fall during hard times. I also believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to live well and succeed and that no one should be left behind. Therefore, I strongly advocate for programs that promote education, health, welfare, and opportunities, such as Head Start, Healthy Families America, and the Nurse-Family Partnership. Lastly, I believe in the power of government to do good in people’s lives, which is why I support regulations that protect families and prevent inhumanity.

Regarding social welfare legislation, I used to be biased against government funding agencies; I perceived it as resource wastage. I also thought that the private sector could do a better job of helping low-income individuals and families. Fortunately, after conducting some FFPSA research, I realized that early intervention services could prevent costly problems, such as abuse and neglect. As a result, I believe that it is important to fund social welfare programs that provide these types of services. One of the ways social workers can engage in the political process to address social justice issues is by becoming involved in advocacy efforts (Gutiérrez et al., 2018). This may involve contacting legislators to express support for or oppose specific bills, attending rallies or protests, or signing petitions. Social workers can similarly become involved in grassroots organizing efforts, which involve building relationships and working with community members to identify and address local problems.


González, E. M. Á. (2021). Legislative policy in Spain: Analysis of the current situation and the challenges for a quality legislative technique. Criminal Law-Making: Theory and Practice, 7, 11.

Gutiérrez, L. M., & Gant, L. M. (2018). Community practice in social work: Reflections on its first century and directions for the future. Social Service Review, 92(4), 617-646.

Harvey, B., Gupta-Kagan, J., & Church, C. (2021). Reimagining schools’ role outside the family regulation system. Columbia Journal of Race and Law, 11(3), 575–610.

Leal Filho, W., Tripathi, S. K., Andrade Guerra, J. B. S. O. D., Giné-Garriga, R., Orlovic Lovren, V., & Willats, J. (2019). Using the sustainable development goals towards a better understanding of sustainability challenges. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 26(2), 179-190.

Montanez, J., Donley, A., & Reckdenwald, A. (2021). An analysis of domestic violence service data from the florida department of children and families. University of Central Florida

Pacheco, J., Haselswerdt, J., & Michener, J. (2020). The affordable care act and polarization in the United States. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 6(2), 114-130.

Pecora, P. J., Whittaker, J. K., Barth, R. P., Borja, S., & Vesneski, W. (2018). The child welfare challenge: Policy, practice, and research. Routledge.

Vandervort, F. (2020). The law and policy of child maltreatment. University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository.

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