Shawana's Story of Giving Back

Our case managers, counselors, mentors, and parent educators have been working hard this year to continue building on the solid foundation that established Families First 128 years ago when two women founded the Leonard Street Orphan's Home.

Twenty-five years ago, the immeasurable work and dedication of our staff made it possible for a 20-year-old single mother named Shawana to start a new life for herself and her two-year-old daughter after leaving a destructive and abusive relationship. Families First not only provided Shawana with a place to live, but also provided counseling, money management training, and childcare. Families First helped Shawana find her first apartment to call her own while encouraging her to continue to work hard and be independent. She says that Families First gave her a new beginning.

Now, Shawana has a great job and her 26-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son are thriving. For ten years, she has given back to her community by providing meals on Thanksgiving. This year, Shawana lead her work team in providing Thanksgiving meals for seven of our families through our Adopt-A-Family program.

We are so incredibly grateful for people like Shawana who make it their mission to give back.

What better way to close out the year than by investing in families? Please consider making your own impact on families who face the same challenges that Shawana and her daughter once did.

Happy Holidays!

Success by Young Adulthood

Families First is committed to helping youth find success by young adulthood by providing them with mental health support, mentorship, early education, and supportive housing and strengthening families no matter what challenges they may be facing

Although the definitions of success for the youth we serve may be diverse, Families First works to provide a range of services to set them on a path of independence and self-sufficiency.

Housing

Ensure that youth are housed in a safe, stable, and supportive environment that not only meets basic needs but also provides a platform for stable mental health.

Optimal Wellness

Ensure that youth demonstrate the best possible mental, behavioral, emotional, and physical health.

Mentoring

Ensure that youth improve academic achievement, self-esteem, and social competence, and reduce high-risk behavior.

Education & Experience

Ensure that youth meet key academic milestones and learn to navigate post-high school pathways that match their talents and interests. 

Outcomes for Georgia Youth in Foster Care

There are nearly 14,000 children in foster care in Georgia, up from 7,500 in 2011

50%

are less likely to
graduate from high school

40%

have had more than two placements

90%

will most likely not obtain a bachelor’s degree

Outcomes for Georgia Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

519 of Georgia’s youth aged-out of Foster Care in 2015

71%

of young women
will become pregnant by age 21

only 3%

will earn a college degree by age 25

25%

will become homeless after age 18

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Our Story

For the last 128 years, Families First has been providing empowering solutions for Atlanta’s most vulnerable population. In 1890, Families First started as an orphanage on the Westside of the city on what is now the Spelman campus. In 1937, we went on to become the first licensed adoption agency in the state of Georgia. In 1964, we opened the first group home (now called cooperatives) for young people in the state, and in 1989 we developed a curriculum that more than 200 communities across the country use to help divorcing parents learn how to co-parent their children. Now, we are committed to setting up youth for success by young adulthood by providing them with key services to overcome life's challenges and reach their goals.

We recognize the cycles of poverty are not broken by one program or service alone so we offer a combination of services and supports to ensure foster and underserved youth are successful and independent by young adulthood. Through our collaborations with community partners, virtual services, and locations throughout the state of Georgia, Families First is able to impact youth at each life stage by providing them with mental health support, mentorship, early education, and supportive housing and strengthening families no matter what challenges they may be facing.

Families First – 2016-2017 Annual Report

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Thank you so much for your continued support to ensure our children are heading down a pathway towards success!

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