Family First Prevention Services Act: Leading for Success in Residential Care

Room: Commonwealth 5-8

The Family First Services Prevention Act was signed into law in February, 2018 but for many Residential Care Facilities we are newly experiencing the regulatory and fiscal pressures of this legislation. ‘Family First’ is not just a new set of regulations that require compliance though, it is a shift in mindset throughout the system of child welfare. This mindset has been embraced at St. Catherine’s Center for Children, one in which leadership and strategic planning are key. In 2018, members of St. Catherine’s team had the fortune of hearing Kevin Campbell speak as the keynote for the ACRC 62nd Annual Conference and were compelled into action. We prioritized answering the question for ourselves; “How can we remove the systemic barriers that block children and adolescents living in out-of-home care from maintaining or reestablishing contact and relationships with those that love them?” Asking ourselves this question is prompting an organizational culture shift that requires capacity and infrastructure to support it.

Such capacity and infrastructure needs to be built with in a system of care, a system where we promote the sharing of resources, responsibility and collaboration to provides the highest chance for success for children to be “unconditionally loved, to be accepted and to be safe in a family and community”. St. Catherine’s Center for Children has shown the commitment to interdependency and to the opportunities across service areas that make permanency and stability a reality for the children we serve. This workshop will demonstrate how residential programs can leverage the capacity of service areas like; Education, Mental Health, Prevention, Health Home Care Management, Homeless and Housing, and Foster/Kin Care to foster connections and permanency for a child in care.

Foundationally, successful leadership must build systems to support the organizational culture shift needed and necessary for change. St. Catherine’s is scaffolding such a system using the Family Finding Model developed by Kevin Campbell. ‘Family Finding’ is a set of specific case management activities expressly focused on engaging the various elements of the child welfare system, other public systems, and technologies to map out and interlink with a myriad of potential resources so that children that have been placed in group living and foster homes achieve permanency in the home community, a primary goal of the Family First Prevention Services Act. Family Finding is a unique, intense, overarching approach to permanency that necessitates, for its success, meaningful commitment and interdependency at various levels; System, Agency, Team Members, Child and Family. This workshop will also demonstrate how leadership can use strategic planning and mapping to ensure interdependency within and between these various levels.


Jaclyn Yusko, MS

Chief Operating Officer , St. Catherine's Center for Children