FFPSA: CARF is an approved QRPT accreditor.

Family First Prevention Services Act

CARF is a recognized, Health and Human Services (HHS) approved accrediting body for “Qualified Residential Treatment Programs” per a mandate included in the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

On February 9, 2018, Congress passed FFPSA, also known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Under the new law, after the first two weeks of child placement, only “specified settings” outside of foster family homes are eligible for reimbursement through Title IV-E foster care funds. Specified settings includes the creation of a new category of residential intervention called a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).

FFPSA specifies that to be considered a QRTP, the program must be licensed and accredited by an HHS-approved accreditor by October 1, 2019, unless a state requests a delay for up to two years.

The accreditation process takes time no matter which accreditor you choose. In order to realize the full value of the accreditation process, CARF recommends programs seeking accreditation to meet QRTP requirements do not delay. By starting the process now, your organization can have time to prepare, train, and select a desired two-month time frame for the on-site survey (accreditation decision is provided 6-8 weeks after the survey).


The application and survey fees are flat rates based on how many surveyors and days will be needed to provide a thorough, consultative survey. This depends on the size and structure of your organization. Generally, on-site surveys last 2 days and involve 2 or more surveyors. Your designated Resource Specialist can provide a personalized estimate.

Steps to accreditation

The accreditation process normally takes about 12 months from your first contact with CARF. View the Accreditation Timeline for a summary.

Each program seeking accreditation must be in operation and using the standards six months prior to its first survey.

For a more detailed look at the pre-survey process and timing guidelines, view Prepare for Your First Survey.

Program descriptions

Our program descriptions allow you to choose the best fit for your programs, which may have different names. Our Group Home standards closely align with FFPSA's key concepts.

Contact CARF today at (888) 281-6531 or cys@carf.org to get started.

For more information, here are links to official resources currently available:

The legislation (FFPSA-related pages are 169-206):

HHS guidance issued to states:

  • April 2018 Information Memorandum
    Informs States and Tribes of the enactment of the Family First Prevention Services Act and provides basic information on the new law.

  • July 2018 Information Memorandum
    Provides instruction for: 1) changes to the title IV-E plan requirements as a result of the Family First Prevention Services Act that are effective as of January 1, 2018 and later; and 2) delayed effective dates for title IV-B/E plan requirements.

  • October 1, 2018 FFPSA implementation status-update letter from HHS
    View status-update letter
    Lists HHS actions and pending actions related to FFPSA implementation. Provides new projected release date (late fall 2018) for additional guidance to States and Tribes on prevention-services qualifying criteria. Provides clarification to States and Tribes on deadlines regarding requests for delay in implementation.

Additional resources:

Contact CARF today at (888) 281-6531 or cys@carf.org to get started.