The 'Family First Prevention Services Act' is a federal law that took effect in Nebraska on October 1st.

The act gives local organizations like CEDARS funding to provide preventative services to families before children are entered into foster care.

"Now with FFPSA its about, never remove that child in the first place. Go in a build strengths and help that family stay together and grow to be successful and productive members of our community," says Jim Blue, Chief Executive Officer of the CEDARS organization.

Prior to the FFPSA, federal funding for child welfare was only available after a child enters the foster care system. Nebraska is one of the first states to adopt the new program.

DHHS is submitting a five year prevention plan to federal partners next week, and expect to have a response in the next month and a half.

the plan includes evidence–based services that empower families at risk of entering the child welfare system.

"Family first creates an opportunity for us to engage the entire community in the effort of keeping children safe in their environment and with their families and 20 year ago we were not able to do that," says Dannette Smith, CEO of DHHS.

Services will include include mental health care, family therapy, substance abuse treatment programs and more.

The Family First Prevention Services Act does not take away funding for foster care programs.

For more information, you can visit the DHHS website here.