We build resilient families so all children can thrive.
Families First is Georgia’s largest family and children’s services organization in metro Atlanta. We work to improve outcomes for youth at every stage of life by providing them with mental health support, mentorship, early education, and supportive housing and strengthening families no matter what challenges they may be facing.
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 College 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 build resilient families and 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.
In 1890, The Leonard Street Orphans’ Home was founded by Lucetta M. Lawson and Sarah L. Grant. It was a turbulent time in Atlanta’s history. Then, as now, children and families suffered from the pressures of poverty, dislocation, and bewildering social change. Only 45% of American workers earned yearly wages above the “poverty line” of $500.
This excerpt from the charter petition describes the purpose of the Leonard Street Orphanage: “…to train and take care of needy, colored girls who are orphans or have neither parents nor other relatives able to provide for them.” – September 12, 1890.
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