Assistance for Candidates of Foster Care through Family First

Due to the passage of the Family First Preservation Services Act (FFPSA), children identified as a candidate for foster care now are assisted by engaging families in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Another large change discussed by the panelists is the creation of a federal funding mechanism to help prevent the need for a child to enter the foster care system.

The panelists included Martha Okafor, the Regional Director, Region 3, Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families; Keith Fanjoy, Chief Executive Officer, San Mar Family & Community Services; Rebecca Jones-Gaston, Executive Director, Social Services Administration, Maryland Department of Human Services, and Michael Piercy, Director, Department of Social Services, Washington County.

Jones-Gaston spoke on what Family First is and how is came to be, giving a specific Maryland perspective. Okafor, who facilitates high priority mission-critical initiatives and practices across ACP programs, explained the current and future partnerships with state, county and local agencies, and the extreme important of preventative efforts. Piercy gave his best boots on the ground perspective from the county department and Fanjoy ended with his perspective from a community organization (San Mar Family and Community Services) that partners with the county.

The panel was moderated by the Honorable Senator Addie Eckardt.

The 2019 MACo Summer Conference – “Winds of Change” on August 14-17 focused on the changes being seen at every level of government and constituent services and how counties are harnessing that momentum for the good of all Marylanders.

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