What We Do

Established in 1993, Ohio Family and Children First (OFCF) is governed by the Governor's Children's Cabinet with the purpose of streamlining and coordinating government services for children and families.  OFCF is a partnership of state and local government, communities and families that enhances the well-being of Ohio’s children and families by building community capacity, coordinating systems and services, and engaging families.  OFCF's vision is for every child and family to thrive and succeed within healthy communities.

FCFC Effective Practice Model illustration

Locally the Family and Children First Council (FCFC) of Columbiana County serves much like a “chamber of commerce” for child serving organizations including members from both public and private child-serving systems and agencies. At the macro level, we work collaboratively to help systems to plan, develop and coordinate services and support to avoid duplication and ensure that community needs are met. At the micro level, we provide individual support and service coordination in an effort to make sure that no families “fall through the cracks” and that all families can access the services and support they need to achieve their desired level of success.

Family and Children First Councils are mandated to perform four core functions as illustrated in the triangle above.  The core functions are defined as:

  1. ENGAGING AND EMPOWERING FAMILIES: The FCFC recruits and supports parents, encouraging them to be active contributing members of the council, to be involved in key decision-making efforts, and to serve as an advocate for children, families and communities.
  2. BUILDING COMMUNITY CAPACITY: The FCFC identifies and addresses the ongoing needs of children and families through planning, implementing effective strategies, monitoring and reporting, and evaluating progress toward achieving desired outcomes.
  3. SHARED ACOUNTABILITY: FCFC provides a collaborative infrastructure that allows for creative and innovative solutions that will streamline and strengthen the local service delivery system for children and families. Shared Accountability can only be achieved if the other three core functions are operational: engaging and empowering families, building community capacity, and coordinating systems and services.
  4. COORDINATING SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: FCFC streamlines and coordinates existing government services for families seeking services for their children (micro). FCFCs also annually evaluate and prioritize services, fill service gaps where possible, and invent new approaches to achieve better results for families and children (macro). Service Coordination is not affiliated with any single system, but the results of service coordination impact family and community outcomes across all systems through a collaborative, coordinated, cross-system approach.