Families First of Michigan

About This 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

Program Overview

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.

Program Goals

The goals of Families First of Michigan are:

  • 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

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Families First of Michigan.

Essential Components

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 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

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Families First of Michigan directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Behavioral/emotional problems, aggression/anger, noncompliance with rules, school truancy, and runaway episodes

Parent/Caregiver Services

Families First of Michigan directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • 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

Recommended Intensity:

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.

Recommended Duration:

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.

Delivery Setting

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

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/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.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contacts:
Training Type/Location:

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

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Families First of Michigan.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Families First of Michigan.

Contact Information

Agency/Affiliation: Michigan Department of Human Services
Phone: (517) 335-3704
Fax: (517) 241-7047

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2011

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2011