Together we can Build Resilient Families

So All Children can Thrive

A New Vision for the Future

For 130 years, Families First has been a change agent for families.

We have been there to help support parents, counsel families, and strengthen families.

In spite of our work, our families still suffer from the impacts of poverty on their lives. When their day-to-day life is focused on survival, parents often cannot give their children the full attention they need. The economic deprivation poverty creates leads to depression and stress that creates family dysfunction and affects the children. Our families also face biases in education, underinvestment in their communities and unjust policies that limit access to economic opportunity. So, in 2019, we began to explore how we could do more for our families.

A new prevention-based strategy emerged, designed to accelerate families toward a permanent path of stability and success. Our vision focuses on two generations – the parent and the child – and combines critical Families First services like counseling, parenting skills and maternal health support with those of our partners in housing, education, hunger and workforce development.

Our strategy is driven by our new mission: Building resilient families so all children can thrive. Resilience decreases the effects of adversity on a family’s health and development. It enables adults to then demonstrate healthy behaviors to their children – and it can be measured. The “Navigator” care model is the cornerstone of our strategy, employing a “quarterback” who provides intensive early intervention services. It’s a game changer for families. Navigators engage, listen and connect the families to our programs and other community resources that meet their needs. They also track and measure progress and provide aftercare following program completion.

We are able to embark on this new vision for our future and the future of our families thanks to your support. Together we can break down barriers in communities to ensure our families and their children can thrive. 

Click here for more details about our New Vision and Navigator Care Model

2020 jm photographics Wedding and Event photographers

In Gwinnett County, families in our Chispa program are building resilience through the Navigator Care Model where there is a waiting list for program entry.

Impacting over 16,000 Families Annually



adoptive or fostering parents received trainings to strengthen families in 2020



of youth served were connected to a supportive adult



current number of counseling sessions per month



of children received a health screening

Building resilient families so children can thrive

Families First works to improve outcomes for children, youth, individuals and families at every stage of life by providing them with mental health support, coaching, early education, parenting skills, and supportive housing via prevention and intervention techniques that help strengthen families, as well as build resiliency, no matter what challenges they may be facing.

Families First leads a portfolio of programs and services across impact areas that help improve individual outcomes while strengthening and stabilizing families.

  • Adoption & Adoption Support Services
  • Early Learning, Maternal Child Health, Teenage Pregnancy & Prevention
  • Foster Care
  • Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Parenting

Through a highly skilled workforce and a comprehensive approach to service delivery, we serve and impact over 16,000 children, youth and families annually.

Ebony Williams and her four children found hope and a pathway to resilience, a year after being homeless, with a little help from Families First (left). 

Today there are 13,000 children in foster care in Georgia.


are less likely to
graduate from high school


have had more than two placements


will most likely not obtain a bachelor’s degree

Every year nearly 500 of Georgia’s youth age-out of Foster Care with nowhere to go.


of young women
will become pregnant by age 21

only 3%

will earn a college degree by age 25


will become homeless after age 18


Our Story

For 130 years, Families First has been providing empowering solutions for Atlanta’s most vulnerable population. In 1890, Families First started as an orphanage on the Westside of the city on what is now the Spelman campus. In 1937, we went on to become the first licensed adoption agency in the state of Georgia. In 1964, we opened the first group home (now called cooperatives) for young people in the state, and in 1989 we developed a curriculum that more than 200 communities across the country use to help divorcing parents learn how to co-parent their children. Now, we are committed to setting up youth for success by young adulthood by providing them with key services to overcome life's challenges and reach their goals.

We recognize the cycles of poverty are not broken by one program or service alone so we offer a combination of services and supports to ensure foster and underserved youth are successful and independent by young adulthood. Through our collaborations with community partners, virtual services, and locations throughout the state of Georgia, Families First is able to impact youth and families by providing counseling services, health and wellness education for pregnant teens, early childhood education, life skills for youth in foster care, parenting classes, supportive housing, adoption facilitation and placement, and so much more.

Families First – 2018 Annual Report


Thanks to Our Partners