Our mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of children by providing education, family support, and treatment.
We respond to the needs of all families with an approach that is welcoming and collaborative.
Families First opened its doors to children and families in 1986. We set out to accomplish our mission of providing services which strengthen families and protect children from the cycle of child abuse and neglect. Our founders believed that child abuse prevention was more than a social ideal - it is a social necessity and it requires proactive community involvement.
The greatest need at that time was to provide emergency residential care for abused and neglected children. Human service agencies called at any time of the day or night in need of care and treatment for children as young as three years old.
Strategically, Families First developed services to help parents to prevent child abuse and provide them with education and support to improve their children's lives. Today, we are developing a new therapeutic preschool program to treat children at a younger age to prevent further trauma and their families while still intact or in the instance of first placement in order to prevent further trauma and multiple placements. The Family Center, which opened in 2006, now serves as the hub for our family of services.
During our first year of operation we impacted the lives of 100 families through one parent support group and 10 beds in the residential program. Over the past 30+ years we have grown to offer a toll free, statewide Support Line, free information and referral services to Spanish speaking parents, low cost parent education classes, free weekly Circle of Parents® parenting support groups, Parents as Teachers, a home visitation early learning program and Let's Connect®, an eight week program that strengthens communication skills between children and the adults who care for them. With your help, Families First improved the lives of more than 3,500 children in 2017.
With the help of a dedicated Board of Directors, loyal volunteers, and supportive donors, we work together to build healthy families and create a strong community for children today and into the future.
Families First can be more helpful than a doctor's office.
Crystal called the Families First Support Line about her ten-year old son was having a rough time. She and her husband divorced. There is a history of mental illness on dad's side of the family. Crystal requested a psych evaluation for her son. He is on ADHD medication. He is totally defiant. She says he has Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Crystal was already in touch with his teacher. She has taken Families First parenting classes.
The Families First Support Line volunteer discussed the situation with Crystal and empathized with her. They discussed the fact that all any of us can control is ourselves. Sometimes we need to work on that to prevent ourselves from getting angry. The volunteer mailed information on Oppositional Defiant Disorder and how to deal with anger. She also suggested the book The Explosive Child by Ross Green.
A month later, Crystal commented that we at the Support Line were more helpful to her than her doctor. She said it was nice to talk to someone who really cared and was supportive in talking about her concerns. After talking to us, there has been a big turn around with her son. She was very grateful to the Support Line for the help we gave.