Our History

Families First Health and Support Center has experienced tremendous organizational change and growth since our beginnings as a prenatal clinic in 1984. Since then we have expanded our mission and range of services to meet community needs, as shown by the timeline below.

old prenatal phot1984: Portsmouth Prenatal Clinic is established at Portsmouth Hospital to increase access to early and quality prenatal services for pregnant, low-income women and teens.

1988: Parent-aide program begins to provide support to women who delivered babies through the Prenatal Clinic.

1992: Family Support Center opens. Today, it offers a variety of year-round parent education classes, parent support groups, parent/child activity groups and children’s programs and home visiting. In 1999, the center received the NH Children’s Trust Fund’s first Smith Foundation Award for Excellence in Service to Families. The support center serves as a model statewide for family support centers.

1995: The agency’s name is changed to "Families First of the Greater Seacoast" to reflect its broader mission.

1997: Families First begins offering comprehensive primary care services in addition to prenatal care. As a full-service community health center, Families First has become the "safety net provider" for the most vulnerable individuals and families in the Seacoast region, including many homeless families.

1999: Both the Health Center and the Family Support Center move to the new Community Campus, a state-of-the-art building in Portsmouth that also houses other non-profit agencies. The programs are now located across the hall from one another, increasing collaboration among staff and making it easier for clients to use all the services available at Families First.

2002: Families First receives its first federal grant, for a Health Care for the Homeless Program. Mobile health care teams provide medical care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and care coordination at shelters, soup kitchens and other sites that are easily accessible to homeless people. Mobile dental care was added in 2010.

2003: The Dental Center at Families First opened in February, making Families First one of only three community health centers in New Hampshire to provide on-site oral health care. Services include preventive, restorative and emergency care, education and care coordination for children and adults.

2008: A behavioral health specialist was added to the primary-care team -- a cutting-edge model for integrating care for the whole person.