SECTION 1. (a) There shall be established an Interagency Task Force on Family First Act Implementation to begin meeting within 45 days of passage of this act. It shall be chaired by the secretary of the executive office of health and human services and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities. The task force shall consist of the following members: the commissioner of the department of children and families or a designee, the commissioner of the department of early education and care or a designee, the commissioner of the department of public health or a designee, the commissioner of the department of mental health or a designee, a designee from the office of MassHealth, the child advocate or a designee, a designee of the bureau of substance abuse services, a designee of the committee for public counsel services, a designee of the children’s trust, a designee from the judge baker children’s center, a designee from the massachusetts law reform institute, a designee from the children’s league of Massachusetts, 1 member of the unaccompanied homeless youth commission, 1 member of the juvenile justice data and policy board, 1 parent of children currently or formerly in the department of children and families caseload, 1 current or former youth in the department of children and families foster care system, 1 kinship caregiver for children currently or formerly in the department of children and families caseload, 1 front line department of children and families social worker, 1 residential treatment center provider, 1 provider for families dealing with substance use disorder, and 3 advocates with expertise in the Massachusetts child welfare system including those representing child welfare provider groups and those not affiliated with child welfare providers. The task force shall consult with other individuals with relevant expertise, including academics, researchers and service providers, as needed.
(b) The purpose of this task force shall be to assist the Commonwealth’s child welfare system for the implementation of the federal Family First Act. The task force shall meet monthly unless the Chairs determine otherwise. The task force shall, but is not limited to: (i) review all submissions to the federal government required by the family first act or it’s guidances; (ii) help prepare and plan for any additional submissions to the federal government required by the family first act or it’s guidances; (iii) convene stakeholder meetings to share implementation plans and gather feedback; and (iv) following the submission of all required submission to the federal government make a plan for the development of regulations and release of those regulations out for public comment related to the use of prevention plans as defined by 42 USC §471 (e) (4) (A) within the department of children and families and other areas and departments where new regulations will be needed.
(c) That task force shall continue to meet until issuing a final report no later than October 1, 2021. The report shall be submitted to the Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means and the Clerks of the House and Senate. The final report of the task force shall include, but not be limited to: (i) a study of the fiscal impact of timely and expeditious implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act on the Commonwealth's funding under Part E of Title IV of the Social Security Act; (ii) a summary of new or amended regulations related to the use of prevention plans as defined by 42 USC §471 (e) (4) (A) within the department of children and families and other areas and departments where new regulations will be needed; (iii) a review of and the final submission of the Title IV-E prevention services and programs plan as submitted to the United States Department of Health and Human Services for Family First funding; (iv) definition of what massachusetts has defined as a candidate for care and data on the number of child consumers and adult consumers that would be considered candidates for care; (v) an inventory of all approved evidenced based programs by the federal clearinghouse up until the date of the reports submission; (vi) obstacles and costs to programs seeking approval of evidenced based programs by the federal clearinghouse; (vii) fiscal analysis of the implementation and continuation of the federal first act in the commonwealth including what additional funds will be required from the commonwealth to comply; and (viii) recommendations for draft legislation that will be needed to implement and comply with the federal family first act.
(d) The task force may reconvene 1 year after the full implementation of the federal family first act to assess the status of the implementation and preliminary data to show the impact of the federal family first act of the families and children of the Commonwealth. The task force may meet for a maximum of 2 years to study the impact of implementing the federal family first act.
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