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Click here to read the 2014 Families First Program Evaluation conducted by the Utah State Courts and The University of Utah Criminal Justice Center.
Click here to read the 2012 Families First Program Evaluation conducted by the Utah State Courts and The University of Utah Criminal Justice Center.
Click here to review the rating given to the Families First program by the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse.
Peer Reviewed Journal Outcomes Article

Families First is Utah’s premier intensive in-home intervention designed to teach parents skills to change the unwanted behaviors of their children, and to improve family functioning. Many of the referral’s we receive are from healthy families who are simply looking for better more effective ways to discipline their children and/or control behaviors.

The children in the families we serve often have a variety of behavioral and/or emotional problems. Some have been diagnosed with mental illnesses, some are struggling with school behaviors, some are simply ungovernable, and others are reacting poorly to dysfunctional environments. Many families live at or below poverty level and are struggling to find jobs, housing, clothing, and food for their children, while others are successful in these endeavors.

All of these families have the common desire to change behaviors, learn new ways of interacting, and to create more peace and harmony in their homes.

Please download the brochure by clicking above for an in-depth description, including research results.

How it Works

A Families First Specialist goes into the home of a family for 8-10 hours a week for six or more weeks. The Specialist becomes an ally of the parents and mentor to the family teaching proven methods of changing unwanted behaviors. Parents are taught how to maintain discipline without anger or violence. Positive social skills, effective communication skills and ways to effectively set and maintain boundaries are also taught.

The Specialist uses positive reinforcement, modeling, role playing, and other methods that are designed specifically to teach lasting, concrete parenting and communication skills, while also teaching complementary positive social skills to the children to help reduce unwanted behaviors.

Even after concluding the six-week in-home period, the Specialist continues to be a part of the family's life by remaining on-call, 24 hours a day, for the next year. The Specialist also conducts evaluations at regular intervals after the intervention to track success and to identify possible challenges on a case by case basis.

Families First is available to the public. Some insurance companies provide coverage. Payment is determined on a sliding scale. For more information, contact Wayne Arner at or call him at (801) 272-9980.

Parent Leadership Committee

Because we believe that parents are the experts on their children and families, we have developed a Parent Leadership Committee comprised of parents who have successfully completed Families First. They now volunteer their time providing programmatic feedback, a parent's perspective in treatment interventions, and a resource for parents from someone who has “been in their shoes."

If you are interested in speaking to one of the parents on our Parent Leadership Committee, or have any other questions, please contact Wayne Arner at 801-272-9980 or email

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