About Families First
What We Do
Families First Parenting Programs recognizes that there is no one right way to parent and that not all techniques work for all parents. There are, however, more effective ways to parent, and our goal is to provide parents with a range of tools and strategies that they can have at their disposal.
To this end, Families First serves over 4,000 individuals each year through 500 Parenting Education workshops and Professional Trainings. More than 85% of these programs serve parents from low-income families or professionals who serve these parents. Parents participating in our knowledge- and skill-building workshops walk away with a greater understanding of their children’s motivations and behavior, new tools for effective communication, and a network of supportive peers with whom they can share their frustrations and celebrate successes. Professionals leave our workshops with greater capacity to engage the parents they serve in ways that ultimately strengthen parent-child relationships and build healthy families.
Families First fills a unique niche in the network of family supports offered by hundreds of government and non-profit organizations throughout Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. While many groups offer critical family resources such as shelter, job- and life-skills training, ESL classes, or subsidized child care, Families First is unmatched in our knowledge- and skill-building Parenting Education platform. By capitalizing on our collaborative program delivery model, Families First efficiently complements existing social services by maintaining strong connections with over 100 direct-service providers already serving tens of thousands of low-income families.
The structure of Families First’s programs is based on over 20 years of experience delivering workshops in the Greater Boston community and reflects international best practices in parenting support. We have found that organizing around three core curriculum areas (positive discipline; building self-esteem; and learning clear, positive communication) is the key to helping parents build healthy relationships with children. The methods we employ are constantly evolving and currently include:
- Targeted outreach aimed at serving specific populations or individuals deemed to be at risk for parenting difficulties, such as homeless, low-income, and recent-immigrant families, as well as parents that are incarcerated or seeking substance-abuse treatment.
- Brief 90-minute workshops structured to foster interactive learning and provide factual information and fact-based advice to parents, increase knowledge of child development, and encourage changes in simple behaviors.
- Innovative curricula developed to focus on specific parenting skills and practical take-home tips for navigating difficult situations such as bullying, parental separation or divorce, and teenage risk-seeking.
- Small groups of eight-to-twelve participants where parents can benefit from the social aspect of working in groups of peers and develop networks of continuing support.
- Collaborative partnerships with local community organizations.