History of Replication
Child First began in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2001. With the strong results from the randomized controlled trial, it was clear that the Child First model was able to fill a gap in the service continuum for the most vulnerable children and families. Many other Connecticut cities with high rates of poverty and young children suffering from the effects of trauma and adversity were asking for Child First in their communities.
Child First licenses and trains only one agency in a given geographic area to avoid competition and promote strong collaboration among community partners. In Connecticut, a decision was made to divide the state along the geographic lines established by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut child welfare agency, which serves the highest risk children and families. Hence, 15 potential areas were established within the state.
In 2009, with the very generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and matching funds from both the state of Connecticut and local philanthropy, Child First began replication in five additional cities, each in a unique DCF area. Over the following four years, Child First conducted two additional waves of replication in the other nine Connecticut areas, with the generous support of philanthropy and federal funding from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative (MIECHV).
Currently, Child First has 15 affiliate program sites in CT, with 14 implementing agencies. There is current capacity to serve 1,000 children and their families per year. Child First champions and advocates are working to increase capacity at the affiliate sites.
Child First began national replication in 2015, starting in Palm Beach County, Florida, and in 2016 began replicating in eastern North Carolina. Currently, Child First partners with three affiliate agencies in Florida and five in North Carolina. There have been inquiries from over 25 states. Detailed planning has been essential before Child First begins replication in a new state.
The Child First National Program Office (NPO) and Board of Directors have been very thoughtful about the management of the replication process. It has been extremely important to build adequate internal capacity – both in terms of staffing and infrastructure – to carry out and support successful replication nationally. This has included the development of Distance Learning to complement the on-site Learning Collaborative, and the development of an electronic health record and data warehouse to ensure complete and accurate data collection in all new states.
Child First has reviewed the “implementation science” to ensure that we are well positioned to manage growth, with all the necessary resources.
Criteria for Replication in New Geographic Areas
The Child First National Program Office is responsible for replication of the model.
Child First will prioritize replication in states or other defined geographic areas (e.g. counties) that are in the best position for sustainable, successful operations. States (or other jurisdictions) that serve as national leaders in early childhood systems innovation and whose success demonstrates to other states that strong positive outcomes are possible for the most challenging children and families are good candidates for Child First replication . The priority selection criteria are:
- Commitment to young children and families
- Specific interest in early childhood mental health and the effects of trauma and adversity
- High level of need
- Potential for multiple, sustainable funding sources
- Strong interest from state leaders of child welfare, education, public health, social services, or other relevant state agencies
- State champions and leadership
- State is a recognized as a national leader in early childhood system development and innovation
For more information about becoming a part of the Child First Affiliate Network, visit our Funding page.