Child First


If you would like to learn more about Child First, please call 561-283-0635

CHILD FIRST OFFICE
12300 South Shore Blvd., Unit 210
Wellington, FL 33414

Additional Resources
If you are now pregnant, call Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies at 561-665-4515

If you are concerned about the behavior, learning, or development of your young child, call HomeSafe at 561-383-9800 extension 1702

When young children grow up in environments where there is violence, neglect, mental illness, or substance abuse, the stress can be toxic to their developing brains. But, Child First, a nationally evidence-based program, is now available here to prevent this damage.

Child First works to decrease the incidence of serious emotional disturbance, developmental and learning problems, and abuse and neglect among high-risk young children and families. It provides services to families with children birth to age 6 in which the child has emotional, behavioral, or developmental concerns or the family faces multiple barriers. A clinician and care coordinator provide services that include comprehensive assessment of child and family needs, observation and consultation in early care and education settings, parent-child mental health intervention, development of a family and a child plan of care, and care coordination/case management. Our goal is a young brain focused on learning rather than a brain focused on survival. Even in the face of extreme challenges, our children and families are making incredible progress.

Child First is an evidence-based, intensive, early childhood model that works with the most vulnerable young children and their families, helping them heal from the devastating effects of stress and trauma.
Our two-generation approach builds strong, nurturing, caregiver-child relationships, promotes adult capacity, and connects families with needed services. This home-based intervention increases emotional health and learning success and prevents child abuse and neglect.

The Challenge

Scientific research in brain development clearly shows that high-risk environments (e.g., where there is maternal depression, domestic violence, substance abuse, or homelessness) lead to levels of stress that can be “toxic” to the young, developing brain. Without the buffer of strong, nurturing relationships, the results are long-term damage with significant emotional/behavioral, learning, and health problems.

The Child First Response

Child First is an intensive, home-based model for children (prenatal through age five years) and their families, utilizing a professional team of a Master’s level Mental Health/Developmental Clinician and a Care Coordinator. Key model components include:
1. Psychotherapeutic, two-generation intervention, which helps build a nurturing, responsive, parent-child relationship. This protects the child’s developing brain from the damage of chronic stress, heals the effects of trauma and adversity for both child and parent, and promotes strong emotional health and cognitive growth.
2. Care coordination provides hands-on connection to broad community-based services and supports for all family members, leading to family stabilization, decreased stress, and utilization of growth-enhancing community resources.
3. Facilitation of executive functioning and self-regulation capacity is promoted for both parent and child, including memory, attention, planning, organization, and reflection.

Child First Accomplishments and Impact

• Child First has been designated by HHS as “evidence-based” under the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.
• Child First now serves families in Palm Beach County, Florida and throughout Connecticut.
• Child First’s cost effective intervention is projected to prevent the need for physical and psychiatric hospitalization, foster care, special education, and incarceration.
• Child First has been recognized by the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, Social Impact Exchange, Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Pew Home Visiting Campaign, Zero to Three, National Conference of State Legislators, and Connecticut and American Hospital Associations.

Child First was evaluated with a randomized, controlled trial with strong positive outcomes. (Child Development, January/February 2011) Child First demonstrated:

64% Decrease in Maternal Depression or Mental Health Problems
68% Decrease in Child Language Problems
42% Decrease in Child Aggressive and Defiant Behaviors

ABOUT CHILD FIRST

BROCHURE – LEARN MORE

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? HOW DO WE CONNECT FAMILIES? 
Child First helps you build strong, loving relationships with your young children to heal and protect them from the many stresses and challenges in their lives.

CHILD FIRST IS HERE TO HELP!
Child First works with families who:

  • Feel overwhelmed by the behavior or emotions of their young children
  • Have experienced violence or trauma
  • Feel stressed and hopeless
  • Need support and services for their child and other family members

HOW DOES CHILD FIRST WORK?
Our Child First Team works as your partner, listening closely to understand your goals and what is important to you, your child, and your family.
We visit with you and your child each week in your home or community. We can also work with your child’s teacher or child care provider.

Our Team is made of:
Child Development Specialist, who understands children’s behavior, development, and learning.
Care Coordinator or a Family Resource Partner who connects families with services and supports (like food, housing, furniture, child care, health care, and job training).

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Pregnant women or children from birth through five years of age.
Children with very difficult behaviors or delays in their development or learning, (such as anger and fighting, risk of being expelled from childcare, sadness, or late language).
Families with many stresses (such as feeling alone or hopeless, fighting in the home, drug use, homelessness,
without enough money for food or rent, or involvement with the child welfare system).
There is no cost for Child First services.
Child First is available without regard to legal status.
Child First services are available in English, Spanish and other translations.

THE GOALS OF CHILD FIRST
Our Child First Team is there to support and help you. We will work together with you and your child so that:
Your child is happy and healthy, without behavior problems!
Your child is learning and successful in school and in life.
You can be a strong, kind, wise, and loving parent or caregiver.
You do not feel stressed and overwhelmed by the past and present challenges in your life.
Your family connects with community-based support and services that you want and need.
You can feel confident and focused so that you can reach your own goals for the future.

DO YOU FEEL STRESSED?

“My child is kicking other children! He is going to be expelled from school!” “I am sad and exhausted all the time.” “I am afraid for myself and my children. Someone is going to get hurt.” “My child doesn’t listen!”