MISSION: To provide services which strengthen families, empower parents, nurture children and end the cycle of child abuse and neglect.
Families First has been involved with fatherhood programming in Colorado for over 20 years, by offering Dads groups, father-friendly parenting education and support for fathers on our Family Support Line. Our Family Support Services Program Director sat on the Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood (see Overview for more information) in the early 2000's. In 2006, when the Colorado Works division of CDHS received the five-year $10 million federal community access grant, Families First began answering calls and emails for Colorado Dads. To date, Families First continues to provide these services to Colorado Dads, even after the funding sources were no longer available. Families First provides a listening ear, a place to get help brainstorming child and family concerns, as well as referrals for parents, caregivers and providers working with families.
In January of 2014, Families First was named as the facilitating agency for the Colorado Practitioner Network for Fathers and Families (CPNFF). Our goal as the facilitating agency is to coordinater communication and empower the CPNFF membership to maintain and expand their support to fathers and families. We do so by offering meeting space with conference capabilities, maintenance of the Colorado Dads website, membership communication and strengthening CPNFF's statewide presence.
Since 1986, Families First has been a non-sectarian, non-profit serving families across the state of Colorado. Families First is a leader in ending the cycle of child abuse in Colorado by providing programs that nurture children, empower parents and strengthen families. Families First has a dual purpose; providing support services for families to prevent child abuse and residential treatment for young children who have been abused. This dual purpose makes us unique,as most agencies offer either residential threatment OR prevention and services, typically not both. As the only local non-profit to offer proactive parent education, a FREE statewide support line and a residential treatment center for children ages 3-12, Families First aims to create a community where ALL children are cared for and safe.
We call our preventative programs our Family Support Services (FFS), which are offered both in the community as well as at the Families First Family Center. Our FFS include our statewide Family Support Line, parent education, Circle of Parents support groups and our Spanish Support Services. Our parenting classes and support groups also include a free children's group. For more information on any of our services please visit our website at www.familiesfirstcolorado.org.
Nationally, for every dollar spent on treatment, only one cent is spent on prevention. Families First spends thirty-four cents of every dollar raised on prevention. Our services are identifed as primary prevention, meaning services are offered to any parent who asks for help, not just those referred by social services. Families First believes ALL parents benefit from tools and resources to help them nurture, bond with and discipline children in a healthy and effective way.
Primary prevention is prevention that begins before there is an identified problem. It educates parents and strengthens parenting skills before abuse or neglect ever begins. This sets us apart since most Federal, State and local funds are avaialbel only for "at risk" populations or those who are already in the Human Services system. Families First must use privately raised funds to offer prevention services to any parent asking for help.
The 5 Protective Factors were identified, in 2001, by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Famillies who exhibit these factors have reduced incidences of child abuse and neglect. Families First has used these factors actively since 2003 in designing our program offerings. For our information on the protective factors please visit www.strengtheningfamilies.net.