What is First In Families?

First In Families is an innovative resource for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Our philosophy is that persons living with disabilities are the authorities and experts regarding their life choices, so we have made individual and family choice and trust our bottom line. FIF of the Sandhills is one of 13 chapters across the state funded with family support dollars appropriated by the state Legislature. All FIF chapters operate by the FIF Guiding Principles, which empowers families and gives them control over their life choices.

Working with the FIF Resource Navigator, a person and his or her family may access:

  • state leveraged or emergency funds to assist in the purchase of assistive devices, home adaptations or other items the individual/family deems necessary to live in the community;
  • services and supports such as respite, child care, therapies;
  • information and links to community resources and supports;
  • assistance with basic living needs and medical expenses;
  • referrals to other resources that offer support to the family.

First In Families of the Sandhills is managed by a team consisting of at least 51 percent people with disabilities and family members. Applications are reviewed by the team and resources, knowledge and experience are pooled to provide a wide range of choices and support to the applicants.

Who is eligible?

Residents of Anson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, and Richmond counties may apply to First In Families if they meet the following criteria:

Have a developmental disability defined as a severe, chronic disability of a person that:

  • Is attributed to a mental or physical impairment of a combination of mental and physical impairments;
  • Is manifested before the person reaches age 22, unless the disability is caused by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is manifested after age 22;
  • Is likely to continue indefinitely;
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • Self-care
    • Receptive and expressive language
    • Capacity for independent living
    • Learning
    • Mobility
    • Self-direction
    • Economic self-sufficiency
  • Reflects the person’s need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment or other services which are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated
  • When applied to children from birth to 4 years of age, may be evidenced as a developmental delay.
  • Living situation: children or adults living with natural, adoptive or foster family, or independently.
  • Meet income eligibility based on family size.  See chart on application.

(Examples of developmental disabilities include an intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury.)

First In Families of North Carolina is a state-wide non-profit supporting individuals with Developmental Disabilities and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries and their families in 100 counties. First In Families of North Carolina helps people with disabilities and their families to believe in their dreams, achieve their goals and give back to others.

Lifetime Connections

Lifetime Connections offers unique supports and future planning services to people with all types of disabilities and their families. It provides an alternative or addition to traditional services, through a comprehensive, membership-based set of services tailored to each individual or family. Core services include personal networks and workshops on wills and estate planning.

Lifeline Project

Through a combination of private grants, donations, and fundraising, FIFNC assists eligible families in North Carolina counties not served by a local FIF Chapter. For more information about FIFNC, visit their website at www.fifnc.org.