Family First

​​Oregon DHS Child Welfare embraces Family First implementation as an opportunity to expand the choices and support we provide to children, young adults and families. Oregon Child Welfare is committed to increasing families’ access to supportive services prior to formal child welfare intervention. Through Family First, Oregon DHS Child Welfare will create a culture of community participation in child safety and family well-being, thereby reducing the stigma of seeking help.  

Family First enhances services for:

  • A child who is a candidate for foster care but can remain safely at home or in kinship care and is identified as being at imminent risk of entering or re-entering foster care. Note: Oregon will be determining this definition in it​s forthcoming roadmap.
  • Parents or kin caregivers where services are needed to prevent the candidate from foster care placement.
  • A child whose adoption or guardianship arrangement is at risk of disruption or dissolution.
  • A child in foster care who is pregnant or parenting.​​

What prevention services are eligible?

​​All services must be trauma-informed and evidenced-based with a rating of “promising”, “supported”, or “well-supported” as identified by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse

Eligible parent skill-based programs and services include those that are psychological, educational or behavioral interventions or treatments that work directly with a parent or caregiver. Children may be present or involved, and contact with a parent or caregiver may be face-to-face, over the telephone or video, or online. Programs may be delivered in a traditional home environment or in a residential facility, shelter or prison where a parent or caregiver lives.​

If it is not possible to ensure the safety and well-being of a child or teen in their own home, a caseworker looks to family or friends willing to provide a temporary home while the parent or caregiver works to improve the situation at home. These families are known as “kinship families.” Any safe adult with an established and trusted relationship with a child or young person - grandmas, uncles, teachers, neighbors or even a friend’s parent - can be a kinship parent.

When no kin is available, foster families provide a safe, temporary home for children or teens to grow up in while their parent addresses safety concerns.

What is a kinship navigator program?
A service model intended to assist kinship caregivers to learn about, find, and use programs and services to meet the needs of the children they are raising.   ​

Who is eligible for kinship navigator services?
​All kinship caregivers who are caring for children, regardless of child welfare involvement.​

Oregon is in the process of developing, evaluating and implementing its own Kinship Navigator program through a federal grant process. This program is overseen by Greater Oregon Behavioral Health and provides: 

Family First eligible mental health services are those that aim to reduce or eliminate behavioral and emotional disorders or risk for such disorders. Programs and services may target any mental health issue and participants are not required to have a diagnosis. Eligible programs and services can be delivered to children and teens, adults or families.​

Family First eligible substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and services are those that have an explicit focus on the prevention, reduction, treatment, remediation and/or elimination of substance use, misuse or exposure in general of alcohol, marijuana, illicit drugs, or misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Eligible programs and services can be delivered to children and teens, adults or families.