First in Families

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First In Families Guiding Principles

  • Self-Determination : People with disabilities and/or their families are the experts regarding what they need to achieve their own goals and dreams.
  • Equality : People with disabilities have the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities to contribute and participate as all other members of the community.
  • Interdependence : All people, including people with disabilities, depend on each other.
  • Partnerships: We best achieve goals and dreams through collaborative relationships and leveraging of community resources.
  • Giving Back : Everyone, including people with disabilities and/or their families; has the ability and desire to make meaningful contributions to others.
  • Leadership: Organizational leadership includes people from across NC with diverse backgrounds, experiences and knowledge, including those with disabilities

We are a catalyst for people with disabilities and their families in Mecklenburg County to meet their self-determined needs by leveraging relationships and resources, and encouraging reciprocity in their communities.


People with disabilities and their families believe in their dreams, achieve their goals, connect in their communities, and give back to others.


First In Families promotes self-determination as a philosophy through public education and advocacy efforts. Our Chapters support people throughout their life span. It is important to us that adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities are able to design the lives that they want for themselves.


To be eligible for assistance, individuals/families must meet the following criteria:
  • Must provide proof of Mecklenburg County residency (i.e., photo ID OR current utility bill OR signed lease agreement).
  • Must provide proof of all household income not to exceed $65,000.00 (i.e., pay stubs and/or SSI award letter, and/or current 1040 tax form).
  • Must provide proof of developmental disability or delay, or is at risk of the same, or has a Traumatic Brain Injury (i.e., psychological evaluation, medical record).


We offer support to families and individuals according to their self-defined needs. Examples of supports include computers, home furnishings or modifications, childcare or respite, or repairs to vehicles. Support can also be connecting individuals to vocational, social, and educational opportunities in the community. In addition, FIF can help families with linking sibling caregivers and help plan for the future by exploring alternatives to guardianship, special needs trusts, and personal networks of support. First In Families does not offer a “menu” of services because our philosophy instead is to ask questions and listen to families explain what supports they need to remain independent in their own home and active within the community.

Families who have received help from First In Families often wish to help another family in the future. Examples of this type of 'circle of giving' include foreign language translations or donations of labor or needed items such as furniture, car seats, computers and toys. Families also “give back” by volunteering for the Chapter, serving on the Board, or writing letters to funders.

How to Apply

First In Families operates on an application basis and has no restrictions on the types of goals that it can help a family achieve. Applications may be downloaded from the links below. Applicants may also call our office (704-536-6661) and request to have an application mailed or may come by our office to pick up an application.

Click on the links below to download in Adobe PDF format.  (Note: In order to view or print these documents, you must have Adobe Reader or other PDF reader on your PC/Phone/Tablet.  Click Here for Adobe Reader for PC, or go to the Android Play or Apple Store)

For more information, contact Keiba Young, FIF Project Coordinator, at 704-536-6661 - ext. 437 (Fax: 704-536-0074)
or by e-mail at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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