Families First of Michigan
About This Program
Families First of Michigan offers families intensive and short-term crisis intervention and family education services in their home for four weeks (with the possibility of an extension up to a maximum of six weeks) using the Families First of Michigan model. Families First of Michigan workers are available and accessible to the family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The workers assist families by establishing individual family goals designed to reduce risk of out of home placement and increase child safety. Families First of Michigan workers assist families in meeting goals by teaching, modeling, and reinforcing appropriate parenting and by providing concrete services and connections to community services.
Goals of Families First of Michigan:
The goals of Families First of Michigan include:
- Ninety-five percent (95%) of families served will not require an out-of-home placement during program participation.
- Ninety percent (90%) of the families served shall be shown to have avoided placement after three (3) months of termination with the Families First of Michigan program.
- Eighty-five percent (85%) of the families served shall be shown to have avoided placement after six (6) months of termination with the Families First of Michigan program.
- Seventy-five percent (75%) of the families served shall be shown to have avoided placement after twelve (12) months of termination with the Families First of Michigan program.
Target Population: Children who are at high risk of removal from their families due to abuse or neglect.
For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 17
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17
The essential components of Families First of Michigan include:
- Engagement: Use a collaborative and individual/family strength-based approach to engage and partner with families.
- Assessment and Goal Setting: Use family-focused and directed assessment of life domains, progressive crisis/safety assessment and planning, domestic violence/lethality assessment, and suicide assessment.
- Behavior Change: Use behavioral research-based practices and skill-based interventions, as well as cognitive intervention strategies.
- Skills Development: Teach families a wide variety of “life skills”. Utilize a process of direct teaching, modeling behaviors, practicing/role-play, strength-focused feedback, and individual/group assignments to strengthen learning.
- Interacting with the Community and Accessing Services: Joint planning with family members for coordination, and collaboration, with state, local, public, and community services and systems affecting the family. Advocacy with challenging resources, as well as modeling/teaching clients to advocate and access support for themselves.
- Services Provided in the Neighborhood and Community: Provide services in the families’ homes and community, where they are most comfortable, able, and willing to explore behavior change.
- Immediate Response to Referral: Accept referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Therapist and back- up are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the event of, or in order to avert, crisis.
- Caseload Size: Carry caseloads of two families at a time on average, but can be as high as three.
- Flexibility and Responsiveness: Home visits are scheduled based on the schedule of the family. Services are tailored to each family’s needs, strengths, lifestyle, and culture.
- Concrete Services: Provide and/or help the family access concrete goods and services that are directly related to goal achievement and risk reduction.
- Tracking of Former Clients: As per the goals of the program, families that participated in the Families First program are tracked to see if they remain intact, without re-referral to CPS or removal of the children to foster care, for 6 months and 12 months after exiting the program.
Families First of Michigan was designed with a child/adolescent component that addresses the following presenting problems and symptoms for children/adolescents ages 0 – 17:
- Behavioral/emotional problems, aggression/anger, noncompliance with rules, school truancy, and runaway episodes.
Families First of Michigan was designed with a parent/caregiver component that addresses the following presenting problems and symptoms for parents/caregivers of children ages 0 – 17:
- Parent/child conflict and family violence, poor parenting skills, depression, aggression/anger, substance abuse, child abuse, and neglect (physical, medical, educational, etc.)
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:
This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: On-going assistance in transportation, respite care, babysitting, safety planning assistance and emotional/concrete support.
Families First of Michigan was not designed to be conducted in a group setting, and has not been tested for use in a group setting.
The intensity varies according to the needs of the family. The workers spend a minimum of ten (10) hours a week with each of the families on their caseload and the average visit is two hours.
The program, as designed, works with families for a period of four weeks. Cases can be extended to a maximum of six weeks. Extensions are based on joint decision-making by the family preservation worker and supervisor, the referring worker and supervisor and the family. The decision-making is focused on goal achievement, risk reduction, and safety.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Birth Family Home
Families First of Michigan includes a homework component:
Families may be assigned helpful tasks to strengthen their skill development and use (journal writing, tracking behaviors, practicing a technique/skill).
Families First of Michigan has materials available in a language other than English:
For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Three to five workers, one supervisor (carries a smaller caseload based on team size), and one secretary/support staff (per team).
- A program manager who acts as the administrative representative of the contracted private agency provider and acts as supervisory back-up.
- A small amount of staff work/office space, supplies, telephones, copier, printers, etc.
- Cell phones.
- Direct service staff use their own vehicles for home visits, mileage is paid for all client and program related travel.
- Access to a computer and Internet for client records and data collection.
Minimum Provider Qualifications
Supervisor: A bachelor’s degree in the human services area and field experience working with families with multiple problems is required. A master’s degree in social work is preferred.
Worker: A bachelor’s degree in the human services area is a required minimum. A master’s degree in social work is preferred.
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.
- Donna Mullins, FPS Training Manager
phone: (517) 335-3478
- Charon Hawley, Training Support Staff
phone: (517) 241-7907
Training is obtained:
A half-day session is offered during the Pre-Service Institute for Children’s Protective Services and Foster Care staffs. Child Welfare staff are able to register to attend the ½ day class to learn about family preservation programs.
Number of days/hours:
The Core or Pre-Service Training for Families First of Michigan staff is offered six to seven times per year. The training is seven (7), seven-hour days offered over an eight-week period. Participants shadow their supervisor during the initial part of the training. Once this is complete, the supervisor shadows them on their first case. This allows for the worker to bring their casework experiences to the training and enhances learning.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Child Welfare Outcomes: Not Specified
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Families First of Michigan.
No reference materials are currently available for Families First of Michigan.
- Name: Guy L. Thompson
- Title: Family Preservation Manager
- Agency/Affiliation: Michigan Department of Human Services
- Email: Thompsong@michigan.gov
- Phone: (517) 335-3704
- Fax: (517) 241-7047
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2011
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2011