The Family First Act represents one of the most dramatic overhauls of federal child welfare policy in over 30 years. Its goals of preventing entries into foster care by strengthening families and reducing reliance on institutional placements for children are an important catalyst for creating a more compassionate child welfare system that prioritizes keeping children with their families. We believe that these are important goals and agree with the act’s underlying principle of family preservation.

However, there are many challenges and unanswered questions associated with the implementation of the Family First Act. This, combined with our state’s projected budget shortfall, requires that Texas take a more limited, fiscally responsible approach to implementation.