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We were lost. You helped us find our way back.

People sometimes misuse substances to dull pain and stress. Substance abuse occurs when a person uses alcohol, prescription medicine, and/or other legal and illegal substances too much or in the wrong way. The habit can break families apart, often with children as its youngest victims.

With assistance, many people with substance abuse addictions are able to quit or change their unhealthy behavior. Catholic Charities believes in caring for the whole person, alleviating suffering and seeking to restore healing, love and hope. That’s exactly what our Arizona Families FIRST program does every day.

Arizona Families FIRST (Families in Recovery Succeeding Together) supports parents as they address substance abuse issues that affect their ability to care appropriately for their children or to get and keep a job.

This specialized program partners with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) to walk alongside parents as they go through the recovery process. Our vision is to build a family-centered service delivery system, which promotes family independence, stability, self-sufficiency, and recovery from substance abuse, assures child safety and supports permanency for children.


The program has five goals:

1. Increased timeliness and accessibility of services
2. Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction/abuse
3. Child safety
4. Permanency for children through reunification
5. Self-sufficiency


In order to qualify for this program, you must be referred by DCS or JOBS. Parents or caregivers of a child who is named in a DCS report as a victim of abuse or neglect are eligible. This includes cases with:

● Out-of-home/in-home dependency;

● In-home intervention;

● In-home case with DCS oversight; or under investigation

● Closure at investigation.

A referral is a request for an entire range of services spanning from outreach and assessment to treatment and recovery. Referrals are also accepted for individuals who qualify under JOBS eligibility as well as adolescents who are a dependent of the state and are abusing substances.

Coordinated Care

Once a referral is secured, we provide a seamless system of coordinated care for parents whose substance use is a significant barrier to maintaining or reunifying the family after children have been removed from the home.

Care begins with expedited intervention and evidence-based substance abuse treatment through the many treatment centers in Northern Arizona. In Northern Arizona, that means closely coordinating with Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA).

An assessment and individualized treatment plan is developed for each person in care with the entire family’s best interests in mind. The service model also includes an array of supportive services, including aftercare for relapse management. We take pride in providing all services in a culturally sensitive and family-centered manner.

Array of Services

Arizona Families FIRST services are family-centered and include services and supports for children and spouses. Depending on each family’s needs, Catholic Charities provides the following services.

Substance Abuse Assessment
An assessment is performed to determine the appropriate interventions and plan for treatment.

Substance Abuse Awareness
Sometimes a lack of education about certain behaviors can contribute to substance abuse. Arizona Families FIRST works to promote awareness about consequences and effects of substance abuse on the body, individual and family.

Outpatient Treatment
We coordinate with local treatment centers to enroll participants in a minimum of three hours per week of individual, group and/or family therapy to address substance abuse.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Some participants may require more than three hours of treatment per week. When substantiated, individual, group and/or family therapy can increase to eight or more hours per week.

Residential Treatment
In extreme circumstances, participants can be referred to residential treatment for individual, group, and/or family counseling. Some residential settings allow children to remain with the parent during treatment.

Recovery Maintenance Services
Catholic Charities assists participants in establishing community support for sobriety for up to one year following successful completion of treatment. Relapse prevention planning is important to sustain success after completion of the program.

Auxiliary Services and Case Coordination
Case coordinators work to coordinate services based on each participant’s needs, always keeping the best interest of the whole family in mind. Some auxiliary services can assist with transportation, child care, car repair, utility assistance, housing assistance, clothing, food, parenting and domestic violence groups, employment services, couples counseling and coordination with other community service providers.

Other coordinated care highlights include gender-specific treatment, family-involved treatment services, and motivational enhancement strategies to assist the entire family in its recovery.


Sustainable Success

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Substance abuse doesn’t have to break families apart. Through Arizona Families FIRST, Catholic Charities and our partners come together to create a family-centered service delivery system designed for long-term success. In addition to substance abuse recovery services, we promote family independence, stability, and self-sufficiency to keep families together. Our shared goal is to ensure safety and permanency for children.