About Child First

Child First helps struggling families build strong, nurturing relationships that heal and protect young children from the devastating impact of trauma and chronic stress. We use a two-generation approach, providing psychotherapy to parents and children together in their homes, and connecting them with the services they need to make healthy child development possible. Research shows that Child First stabilizes families and improves the health and wellbeing of both parents and children. This proven intervention currently has 15 sites throughout Connecticut and is now replicating in Florida and North Carolina.

Relationships Matter

Early experiences and relationships are critical to brain development – they build the foundation for emotional and physical health, learning, and life success. But too many parents face crippling hardships just when their children need them most. When children grow up in stressful environments where they are exposed to violence, neglect, or untreated mental illness, those experiences can block the normal, healthy development of their brains—harming their long-term health and resilience.

By helping families build strong, loving relationships, our work protects and heals children from trauma and stress. This makes it possible for young brains to focus on learning rather than survival, and provides the foundation children need to live healthy and productive lives.

Our work also helps parents heal from their own history of trauma and adversity, empowering them to create nurturing, safe, and growth-enhancing home environments. As we work to connect families with the services they need—like a safe place to live, medical care, job training, or a good preschool—we help them build their own capacity to focus, plan, organize, and attain goals for their future.

Vision and Mission

Our Vision

All young children and their families will have the nurturing, support, and services that they need to promote optimal social-emotional, cognitive, and physical health and development.

Our Mission

Child First helps to heal and protect young children and families from the effects of chronic stress and trauma by fostering strong, nurturing, relationships, and connecting families with needed services.

The Child First Model

Child-Parent Intervention

Child First provides Child-Parent Psychotherapy which helps build a nurturing, responsive, and safe 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.

Executive Functioning

Child First builds the executive functioning capacity, self- regulation, and mental health of the child’s parents or caregivers, so that they are able and available to nurture the child’s development and provide a safe, growth- enhancing environment.

 

 

Intensive Care Coordination

Child First 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.