For Families

What will you find on this page?

This page is for families interested in learning more about Child First:

  • Ways that Child First can help you and your family
  • Steps on how to locate Child First services in your area
  • Other helpful resources for families.

What is Child First?

If you are overwhelmed with the challenging behaviors of your children, feel stressed and hopeless, or need support and services for your family, Child First is here to help.

Child First is a program that helps families build strong, loving relationships with their young children so they are protected from the many stresses and traumas in their lives.

How does Child First work?

  • A Child First Team visits with you and your child about one time per week in your home.
  • Our Team is made up of one Child Development Specialist, who understands children’s behavior, relationships, and learning, and one Care Coordinator, who knows about services and supports in your community.
  • Our Team works as your partner, listening closely to understand what is important to you, your child, and your family. We will plan together, and then work with you, your child, and other family members to improve your life and that of your family.
  • Our Child Development Specialist will also work with your child’s teacher if you have any concerns about school or child care.
  • Our Care Coordinator will partner with you to help connect you with many other services your family may need (like food, housing, childcare, health care, and job training).

Who is eligible?

Child First provides services to:

  • Pregnant women or families with a child from birth through five years of age.
  • Children who have behavioral problems or delays in their development or learning (such as anger, sadness, risk of being expelled from childcare, or language delays).
  • Families with multiple challenges or stresses (such as not enough income, feeling alone or hopeless, not able to meet your needs or the needs of your child, fighting in the home, drug use, homelessness, or involvement with the child welfare agency).
  • The Child First program you work with is determined by where you live.

How much does Child First cost?

  • Services are provided at no cost to the family.

What happens when parents enroll?

  • The first and most critical step in our work is to build trust. We realize that to work as partners, the family and the worker must both trust one another. Families are respected, valued, and listened to very closely. We pay attention to personal culture and traditions.
  • The primary points of contact are your Child First Child Development Specialist and your Child First Care Coordinator.
  • The Child Development Specialist and the Care Coordinator work with children and families as a team.
  • The Child Development Specialist helps parents to understand:
    • normal challenges of child development and age-appropriate expectations;
    • the unique processing abilities of their child;
    • the impact of trauma on their child and how this might be expressed in his or her behavior.
  • Parents learn with their Specialist the meaning and feelings motivating a child’s behavior, and find new responses to behavioral challenges.
  • The Care Coordinator serves as coach and mentor to help the parent(s) prioritize what is most important to them and their children, deciding among service possibilities, and developing a plan to access the services.

How can you find Child First services?

If you want to locate a Child First site near you or contact the agency you are already working with, select Find Child First Services, and enter the requested information in the locator field and the Child First sites nearest to you will appear on the map.  Do not hesitate to contact the site nearest you for more information.

For a summary of Child First services, you can download and print the PDF icon ChildFirst Family Brochure.pdf

Are you interested in more resources?

Child Development

  • ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development.
  • The Administration for Children and Families provides resources to assist with adoption, child abuse and neglect, child care, child support, Head Start, foster care, runaways and other programs for children and youth.
  • The Office of Child Care  provides resources to families and caregivers:
    • Resource Guide: Child Care Information for Families
    • How to find good quality child care
    • Resources to help you choose quality child care
    • Finding help to pay for child care

Parenting Education