Family Flexible Intensive Response Support Team (Family FIRST)Children, Youth, and Family Services
Family FIRST is a program to assist children and youth diagnosed with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families. Services are provided within the scope of the wraparound model, which includes family-driven services, formal and natural supports, and professionals in a team approach. Your family will work together with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and community providers to identify your strengths, needs, and desired outcomes. The team, including your family, will develop a plan based on the unique strengths, values, and preferences of you, your child, your family, and your community.
Depending on their individual needs, youth may benefit from different service components. Family FIRST offers the following:
Family Systems Intervention: Assists families and youth to develop the skills and supports that promote family harmony and community living. These services are delivered in the home or in the community. Services associated with Family Systems Interventions include:
- Outreach and engagement of youth and families
- Comprehensive assessment
- Psycho-education for the youth and family
- Family treatment and support intervention
- Linkages to services, supports, community resources, and opportunities
- Service coordination between schools, service providers, and others that provide support to assure that the approaches taken are appropriate and clinically relevant
- Transportation as needed to meet Individual Action Plan (IAP) goals
Individual Youth Support: After-school mentoring to assist youth in developing emotional self-management abilities, social skills, communication skills, pre-vocational skills, and self-confidence. Mentoring usually takes place in the community, occurring while the youth and mentor participate in recreational, cultural, artistic, or social activities. A mentor may also:
- Teach new personal skills related to self-care, peer relationships, and managing symptoms
- Teach money management skills
- Assist in educational and pre-vocational skill attainment, such as career planning, learning to complete applications, practicing interviews, appropriate dress, etc.
- Accompany and/or engage youth in social and recreational activities in which he/she would not be able to participate without therapeutic support
- Transport the youth or assist him or her with use of public transportation
Youth Support Group: The goals of these 90-minute groups include social and emotional skill building, connections in the community, and educational and vocational preparation. They are targeted to youth whose SED has prevented them from developing age-appropriate competencies and life skills. Groups may support the development of life skills, such as those related to self-care, making friends, managing symptoms, etc. These groups may also provide social and recreational activities tied to the IAP goals and provide psycho-education for family members. Common topics may include:
- Understanding mental illness
- Understanding appropriate boundaries
- Understanding friendship
- Developing a positive self-image
- Violence prevention
- Conflict resolution
- Learning how to apply for jobs or school
- Developing community living skills
- Money management
- Finding housing
Collateral Contact: A Licensed Mental Health Clinician may make a collateral contact or conduct a consultation with a third party on behalf of a youth whom the clinician is treating. The purpose of these collateral contacts/consultations is to assure that services for the youth are appropriate and clinically relevant. Collateral contacts/consultations may occur with pediatricians, school staff, and staff of other agencies providing services to the youth.
Family FIRST operates under a closed referral process, with referrals coming directly from the Department of Mental Health. Family FIRST is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; on-call availability Monday-Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and all day on weekends and holidays. For more information, please call 508-587-2579, ext. 10.