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Safe and Stable Families
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  Safe and Stable Families  
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The Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program provides Family Preservation Services, Family Support Services, Time-limited Family Reunification Services, and Adoption Services to children who are a risk of out-of-home placement or who are in Foster Care. The Virginia Department of Social Services, Division of Service Programs administers the federal funded program under Title IV-B, subpart 2, of the Social Security Act.

Most of the communities in Virginia have a promoting Safe and Stable Families program. These programs serve over 15,000 children and families each year.

Background
In 1993, Congress passed and began implementation of the new federal Family Preservation and Family Support Services Program. The program was part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act which established a new subpart 2 to Title IV-B of the Social Security Act. The Act appropriated nearly $1 billion nationwide over a five-year period for services to:

  • Prevent or eliminate the need for out-of home placements of children
  • Promote family strength and stability
  • Enhance parental functioning
  • Protect children
  • Assess and make changes in state and local service delivery systems
The strength of the new Family Preservation and Family Support Services Program was its insistence on community involvement in the identification of community needs and resources, identifying the gaps in those resources, and the establishment and implementation of plans to address those needs in a prevention-oriented approach.

Congress Renews Family Preservation and Family Support Services funding in the Adoption and Safe Families Act
In 1997, Congress revised the Family Preservation and Family Support Program. It renamed the program to Promoting Safe and Stable Families. It also changed the services that are to be funded from this legislation. In the original legislation, Virginia was required to provide two basic services in order to use the funding:

  1. Family preservation services, and
  2. Family support services.
Under the 1997 legislation, we are now required to provide two additional services in order to use the funding:
  1. Time-limited reunification services, and
  2. Adoption services.
The Following are descriptions of each service:
  • Family Preservation Services: Services designed to help families alleviate crises that might lead to out-of-home placements of children because of abuse, neglect, or parental inability to care for their children. They help to maintain the safety of children in their own homes, support families preparing to reunify or adopt, and assist families in obtaining other services to meet multiple needs.
  • Family Support Services: Services often provided at the local level by community-based organizations. They are voluntary, preventive activities to help families nurture their children. These services are designed to alleviate stress and help parents care for their children's well-being before a crisis occurs. They connect families with available community resources and supportive networks which assist parents with child rearing. Family support activities include respite care for parents and care givers, early development screening of children to identify their needs, tutoring health education for youth, and a range of center-based activities.
  • Time-limited Family Reunification Services: Services and activities provided to a child that has been removed from the child's home and placed in a foster family home or a child care institution and to the parents or primary care giver of such a child, in order to facilitate a reunification of the child safely and appropriately within a timely fashion, but only during the 15-month period that begins on the date that the child is considered to have entered foster care. Such services may include individual, group, and family counseling; inpatient, residential, or outpatient substance abuse treatment services; mental health services; assistance to address domestic violence; services designed to provide temporary child care and therapeutic services for families, including crisis nurseries; and transportation to or from any of the services.
  • Adoption Promotion and Support Services: Services and activities designed to encourage more adoption out of the foster care system, when adoptions promote the best interests of children, including such activities as pre and post adoptive services and activities designed to expedite the adoption process and support adoptive families.

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7 N. Eighth St.• Richmond, VA 23219 • (804) 726-7000 • citizen.services@dss.virginia.gov
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