Family Support Services
Families First provides a unique combination of prevention and intervention services, each designed to help parents put their children’s needs first. We respond to the needs of families with an approach that is welcoming and collaborative, that builds on existing strengths in parents and their children, and that acknowledges and respects cultural and individual differences.
The Strengthening Families Framework, with its evidence-based strategies for building a strong family environment, is the foundation of all our Family Support Services. Their research has shown that the following Protective Factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect. Families First has incorporated this approach in all its programming.
- Nurturing and Attachment
- Knowledge of Parenting and of Child and Youth Development
- Parental Resilience
- Social Connections
- Concrete Support for Parents
- Child Social and Emotional Development
The Family Support Line is a statewide resource for parents or primary caregivers with family concerns. Whatever the issue, we greet callers with compassionate listening and respect, offering practical answers and information on all aspects of family life and child development. We also make referrals to community resources. Whether one just needs to talk or is seeking specific information, trained volunteers are ready to assist. We are a resource to families statewide through collaboration with local and statewide agencies, we answer for Prevent Child Abuse Colorado, Colorado Dads and Substance Exposed Newborn with Drug Endangered Children.
Families First Parenting Education Curricula is informed by the Child Welfare Information Gateway – a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services. www.childwelfare.gov/preventing All Parent Education groups and classes are led by highly qualified professional educators who teach effective communication and disciplinary skills for parenting children from birth to young adulthood. Participants gain awareness of children’s developmental stages and learn realistic, age-appropriate parenting strategies. Weekly meetings provide parents with support from others who understand what they are feeling and experiencing. This is a safe place to share frustrations, successes, and learn from each other.
General Content Guidelines
- Boundaries( Physical and emotional, limits, flexibility, respect)
- Understanding a child’s needs (child development, goals of misbehavior)
- Encouragement (build on strengths, build positive self-esteem)
- Discipline, Natural and Logical Consequences
(alternatives to physical discipline, redirecting behaviors, behavior modification)
- Communication (“I messages, listening)
- Different Styles of Parenting (conscious parenting, awareness, power struggles)
- Care for self (stress management, time management, meeting own needs)
- Change is difficult
Circle of Parents Groups*
Circle of Parents Support Groups offer safe, confidential, non-judgmental places to share with and learn from other parents and build upon your strengths. It’s so comforting to be with those who understand what you’re feeling and experiencing! Some groups meet the specific needs of parents of toddlers, single parents, or grandparents raising grandchildren, while other groups are good for parents with children of all ages. Groups are parent-directed and leadership is shared with a trained Families First facilitator. They are free and meet weekly in various locations in the metro Denver area.
Parent Education Classes*
Unlock the knowledge you already hold and share your wisdom with others. These classes teach effective communication and disciplinary skills for parenting children, from birth to young adulthood. Parenting classes and seminars emphasize positive approaches to discipline and build upon parents’ strengths. They are available in the Denver metro area. Classes vary in length from 3 to 12 weeks and teach basic parenting skills. Some classes focus on the specific needs of parents of toddlers or adolescents or single parents, while others work well for parents with children of any age. Moderate fees are charged (series: $60 single, $90 couple). Classes are based upon STEP or Active Parenting curriculums and qualify for court-ordered education.
A Children’s Group provides fun activities and creative projects as avenues for both expression and education. Our trained, experienced Children’s Group Leaders provide children with a structured opportunity to learn appropriate skills for socializing and behavior modification. This service is free for the children of parents and care givers attending Families First Parent Education Classes or Circle of Parents®.
Seminars are offered on various topics, such as Infant, Toddler and Young Child Massage. These are usually short in duration and modest fees are charged.
Families First serves Spanish speaking families through a statewide support line, Consejos Para Familias, and by offering Circle of Parents® support groups and parenting seminars throughout the Denver metro area – in schools, early childhood education and community centers.
One mother drove 20 minutes to drop off her sick son at his father’s house and then drove back in time for the last half-hour of the meeting:
“If I had to drive two hours to get here, I would. It’s that important to me and my kids.”
Here’s what one father wrote on his class evaluation:
“Most of us are not born knowing these ideas… If more people would take this class there would be fewer frustrated children and parents. It made me understand I’m not alone.”
A father and mother of preschoolers shared these thoughts:
“We were planning to go to the class anyway, but when we heard what our kids would be learning – well, we make this a big part of our weekly family time.”