Remember the Family First Act? That’s the vastly overhyped federal legislation touted as a revolutionary change in how child welfare is financed. Supposedly, under Family First, lots of money that used to be reserved only for foster care will, at last, go to better alternatives. That was never going to happen. Very little additional money actually will go to those better alternatives.
And now it looks like the very first to benefit from Family First may not be families at all. It may be “providers” of the worst form of “care” in a state that is always a candidate for foster care capital of America. Yes, the first beneficiaries of Family First may be residential treatment centers (RTCs) in Wyoming, a state that regularly tears apart families at a rate nearly triple the national average, even when rates of family poverty are factored in.