Families First Provides Behavioral Care for Great Families 2020

Published: April 30, 2018

Families First Provides Behavioral Care for Great Families 2020

Great Families 2020 is an initiative of United Way of Central Indiana to improve family stability for vulnerable children and their parents living in five neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

Here’s what United Way says about this unique solution to families achieving self-sufficiency:

“Using the promising practice of the Two-Generation Approach, Great Families 2020 focuses on early childhood education and family economic stability. The idea is to provide opportunities for and meet the needs of parents and their children together. Great Families 2020 aims to establish neighborhood support networks that provide integrated services in postsecondary education and workforce development, early childhood education, financial support, and health and wellbeing to families living in poverty.”

Families First is excited to partner as a behavioral care provider in one of the five neighborhoods  - with the John Boner Neighborhood Centers, the East Tenth Street United Methodist Church Children and Youth Center, and DayStar Childcare and Infant Learning Center.

Families First will provide supportive services to families living in the near eastside neighborhood with the goal of strengthening their mental health and enhancing their social support networks. Through our services, families will achieve greater wellbeing, become more stable, and be better equipped to help their children succeed.

Families First was chosen as a partner for its decades of experience in working with parents and children to overcome challenges that interfere with their educational success and economic security such as substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and parenting concerns. In addition, we have a very good understanding of the obstacles that the children and families in this neighborhood face. Currently, an overwhelming majority of our substance abuse, domestic violence, and counseling clients come from the near eastside.

Families First will provide screening tools and training for the three partner agencies. Once a need for behavioral health support has been identified, a referral for services to Families First will be made. For family members needing a complete biopsychosocial assessment, including assessing for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), and a full trauma evaluation, Families First will provide a licensed, Masters level therapist. Family members will be referred to the appropriate service provided by Families First such as substance abuse treatment, domestic violence perpetrator treatment (BIP), trauma treatment, domestic violence advocacy, sexual assault advocacy, parenting classes, or mental health counseling. For families needing additional services, Families First will provide referrals to additional community resources and organizations based on their identified needs.

Audrey Jarrett, who oversees Families First community education services and is a certified Parent Café facilitator, will serve as Families First’s Great Families 2020 coordinator. In this role, Audrey will work closely with the Family Services team for project collaboration, communicate additional family needs and challenges that we have identified, co-develop data and information sharing processes, address training needs, and ensure that our services are being coordinated effectively.

Families First prides itself on incorporating research-based, best practices into all services. All counseling and therapeutic services utilize Motivational Interviewing techniques and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Motivational Interviewing is a client-centered model that involves collaborating with the client regarding his/her desired change. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), behavioral change is guided by having the client focus on their thinking patterns and how those patterns produce behaviors that have caused problems in their lives. Research demonstrates that when combined, these two treatment approaches have proven to be effective and are considered best practice. In addition, most our therapists are extensively trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is an empirically validated treatment of trauma and other adverse life experiences and is now accepted as a treatment of choice by numerous mental health departments and trauma organizations. Families First also utilizes evidenced-based curricula such as Duluth, Stewards of Children, Seeking Safety, Parent Cafes, and SAFE Dates.