Families First Opens Wellington Office For Abuse Prevention Program

Families First of Palm Beach County formally opened its doors to its new child abuse prevention program, Child First, with an open house attended by Wellington officials, neighboring businesses, board members and other agency officials on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Families First, now in its 26th year of providing services that prevent child abuse and strengthen families, is one of three local nonprofits to receive funding to operate Child First.

Child First is a national, evidence-based program started in Connecticut that is achieving outstanding results in helping vulnerable young children and their families overcome the devastating impact of trauma and chronic stress. Trained professionals work with families in their homes, providing therapies and connecting them with other needed services. Families First serves families in the western communities.

The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County brought Child First to this area — the first time services have been provided outside Connecticut. To date, the program’s results include a 64 percent decrease in maternal depression and mental health issues, a 42 percent decrease in child aggressive and defiant behaviors, and a 68 percent decrease in child language problems.

Child First’s cost-effective intervention is projected to prevent the need for physical and psychiatric hospitalization, foster care, special education and incarceration.

Serving Palm Beach County since 1990, Families First provides child abuse prevention, health, housing and behavioral health services for families whose life circumstances affect child and family health and stability.

Many of the families served by Families First struggle with domestic violence, homelessness, drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical health issues, or just a change in circumstance that has left them unable to cope.

With eight programs, Families First helps clients build on their strengths and designs individualized plans to meet each family’s specific needs.

Learn more about Families First at www.familiesfirstpbc.org.

ABOVE: (L-R) Mary Mitchell, director of Child First; Julie Swindler, CEO of Families First; Dan Ferraresi of the Batchelor Foundation; and Samantha Whiteman, Families First development director.