Grant giveaway to stabilize families and reduce foster care

Heather Steffl

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services Division announced new grant funding opportunities for agencies and professionals that will build North Dakota’s capacity to provide approved evidence-based Title IV-E prevention services to support family stability and prevent children from entering foster care. 

“Investing in prevention services shown to stabilize families and keep them together safely is a wise investment,” said department Executive Director Chris Jones. “We are pleased to offer one-time grants to build our state’s capacity to deliver services that prevent the out-of-home placement of children.”

The Title IV-E Prevention Services Agency Development Grant is intended to facilitate the development of organizations that can deliver evidence-based practices as identified in North Dakota’s Title IV-E Prevention Services Plan, in accordance with the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). These one-time grants of up to $100,000 each ($500,000 total) will be available to agencies to assist them in becoming approved Title IV-E prevention service providers who will then be able to effectively serve children and families as identified in the state’s Title IV-E Prevention Services Plan.

To qualify for the agency development grant, an entity must be legally authorized to conduct business in North Dakota and must have experience delivering human services to children and families. Grant applicants must also be able to serve geographic areas of North Dakota where there is a demonstrated unmet need for approved services for qualifying children and families. Grant applicants must demonstrate their ability to adhere to evidence-based practice standards and program fidelity.

Grant funding can be used for training and professional development, staff recruitment or retention costs, up to three months of operating costs during a service start-up period, outreach and marketing activities, promotional materials related to the new services, technology costs to support the agency’s prevention services work and required background checks.

Interested agencies can apply beginning Feb. 23, 2021 through May 31, 2021. The application form and other grant information is online at www.nd.gov/dhs/services/childfamily/iv-e-prevention.html. The department will review applications in the order they are received and will award grant funding through May 31, 2021, or until funding is expended.

A related Title IV-E Prevention Services Provider Training Grant will be available beginning March 1, 2021. It will provide grants totaling up to $10,000 each to offset the cost of training and/or certification that will enable a professional to deliver an evidence-based service as required by each identified model. The goal of the training grant program is to boost the availability of approved, evidence-based Title IV-E prevention services for North Dakota children and families.

The department will review provider training grant applications in the order they are received and will award grant funding through May 31, 2021, or until the $750,000 that has been set aside for this training initiative has been expended.

Evidence-based programs and services represent the cornerstone of North Dakota’s Family First Title IV-E Prevention Services and Programs Plan. The state’s plan, which was federally approved in August 2020, allows North Dakota to access federal Title IV-E funding for approved services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery support services as well as in-home parent skill-based programs designed for parents of young children.

Currently, North Dakota has one approved Title IV-E prevention service provider: Healthy Families, which is a voluntary home visiting program that supports families of newborns and is available in 11 counties.

Approved evidence-based programs eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement in North Dakota include Healthy Families, Parents as Teachers, Nurse-Family Partnership, Homebuilders, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Multisystemic Therapy and Functional Family Therapy.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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