Recognizing that civil society depends on strong communities and healthy families, in 1890 Lucetta Lawson and Sarah Grant responded to the challenge for social justice in Atlanta by organizing and building an orphan’s home for young homeless girls living on the city’s streets. The Leonard Street Orphan’s Home was the cornerstone for Families First and its 100 plus year history of strengthening and preserving families and building healthy communities. By addressing the needs of individuals as well as each individual’s relationship within their family structure, Families First fills a niche in metropolitan Atlanta, evoking our sense that if as caring, cooperative human beings we work together we can make our city, region and nation a better and safer place for all. Empowering families, children and communities to achieve this possibility and potential is both the history and vision of Families First.
Rooted in a tradition of listening and responding to the changing needs and social problems that confront the family structure, Families First’s impressive list of achievements include establishing Georgia’s first adoption agency, first foster care agency as well as the state’s first family counseling agency. Today, Families First is Georgia’s largest family-serving nonprofit agency, operating 11 programs that touch the lives of more than 38,000 individuals each year. The organization is guided by the vision of a strong, vibrant, supportive community where all children and families flourish. The mission of Families First is to ensure the success of children in jeopardy by empowering families, with the ultimate goal of transforming communities. The organization’s services are structured into three key impact areas:
Child and Youth Permanency – Families First offers adoption (special needs, domestic, and international), foster care, permanency cooperatives (also known as residential group homes), mentoring and other services to help ensure long-term stability and a supportive environment for children and youth whose lives have been disrupted;
Family Sustainability and Empowerment – Families First works collaboratively with housing developers to offer transitional and permanent supportive housing, support services and training to promote family self-sufficiency;
Healthy Families and Relationships – Families First equips parents and families with critical skills for building strong, flourishing family relationships through parent education, concrete support, and affordable behavioral health services.