March 12, 2021

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau has approved Iowa’s Family First Prevention Services Act plan. Iowa is the 11th state in the nation to receive approval for a Prevention Services and Programs Plan.

The Family First Prevention Services Act, simply referred to as “Family First,” is federal legislation that restructures how the federal government spends money on child welfare to improve outcomes for children and families. It aims to prevent the need for removal through evidence-based family preservation services. Family First is an important tool that, if utilized effectively, moves child welfare in the U.S. to a more preventive system that works to strengthen families.

Key components of Family First include foster care prevention services such as mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services and in-home, parent skill-based programs that include parent education and individual and family counseling.

Successful implementation of Family First will:

  • Reduce safely the foster care population.
  • Place children with known, stable caregivers when they cannot remain safely with their parents.
  • Reduce the number of youth in shelter and group care settings.

“The Family First Act created new opportunity for funding and services that are best positioned to support and preserve family connections, while also keeping children safe. An approved Family First Prevention plan is another example that DHS is committed to doing what is best for families,” said Janee Harvey, Division Administrator of Adult, Children and Family Services.

Learn more about the Family First Prevention Services Act and access Family First resources here:


Program contact:

Kara Lynn Regula

Media contact:

Matt Highland