What is the Families First Program (Utah Youth Village Model)?

The Families First Program (a Utah Youth Village Model) is an intensive and integrated intervention program that happens in-home. It’s designed to empower parents with proven parenting skills. The program, which has been in existence for almost 30 years, serves around 500 families annually. 

A Families First specialist will visit your home regularly, typically over a span of several visits (about 50 hours in total). The specialist is there to observe and then assist parents in achieving their unique family goals using the Teaching Family Model. The aim is to instill positive changes that can impact the family trajectory for generations to come. This program is also recognized as a well-supported program by the Federal Clearinghouse based on over 15 years of research.

Who is it for?

Families First is designed for families struggling with child behavior problems, family conflict, and parenting strategies that aren’t producing the desired effect. It serves those who might otherwise risk their children being placed into foster care due to unresolved family issues. These may include parents dealing with challenging situations such as single parenthood, financial hardships, or children with issues like disobedience, academic problems, depression, and encounters with law enforcement.

What Does Being in the Families First Program Look Like?

The Families First program involves frequent home visits from a specialist who works collaboratively with the family. The process begins with setting goals, identifying problems, and recognizing strengths within the family. The specialist models and instructs on effective parenting techniques, conducts role-plays to practice these skills, and offers continuous feedback. Techniques taught include effective communication, setting expectations, administering effective consequences, and teaching children how to accept decisions from authority. The program also assists in establishing routines, such as check-in calls, to improve family cohesion.

What are Common Outcomes of the Families First Program?

The Families First program has a track record of significantly improving family dynamics and child behavior. Around 85% of Families First families successfully complete the program and do not return to any state system within a year.

Parents often report that their children become more respectful, responsible, and communicative. This also reflects in areas outside the family, such as improved academic performance and reduced run-ins with the law. Parents, on their part, feel more empowered, confident, and in control of their home environment. Through the program, they are taught new tools and techniques to manage their families more effectively, which ultimately leads to reduced family chaos and improved family relationships.

What Does It Cost and How Do I Get Signed Up?

The Families First Program offered by Willapa Behavioral Health is provided at no cost to the participating families. Our mission is to empower families and make positive changes accessible to all, regardless of financial situation. This has been made possible through the generous support of our partners at Willapa Behavioral Health and Wellness, who have subsidized the funding for this program.

To get started, you can simply fill out the form available on this page. Alternatively, you can call the Willapa front desk and express your interest in the Families First Program. Our dedicated staff will guide you through the next steps, answering any questions you may have along the way. We are here to support you on your journey towards a healthier, more harmonious family life.

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