Nurse-Family Partnership Welcomes Child First Leadership as Part of Merger

Media Contact
Rebecca Beeler


DENVER, COLO. (Dec. 3, 2020) —  Nurse-Family Partnership®, a national program serving first-time moms and their children living in poverty, has joined forces with Child First, an intensive, home-based intervention helping the most vulnerable young children and their families heal from the damaging effects of adversity, stress and trauma. Dr. Darcy Lowell, Child First founder, will join the National Service Office, which oversees both Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First, as the chief Child First and mental health officer.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) and Child First share a combined 65-year history of serving families through home visiting in ways that empower families and provide access to highly trained health care experts. The merger of the two organizations allows for two proven, evidence-based models to share complementary expertise, infrastructure and integrated services while remaining true to their original models and target populations.

“Both Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First have long been committed to empowering multi-generational change. Together, we’ll be better able to address the needs of the entire family across prenatal health, early childhood development and mental health for mother, child and family,” said Frank Daidone, president and CEO of the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First. “I am thrilled that Darcy is joining our National Service Office to continue leading the Child First team and to help provide mental health expertise to the NFP team. Darcy brings research expertise and proven leadership and will be such an asset as we advocate for the needs of the families we serve.”

As the chief Child First and mental health officer, Lowell will lead all programmatic and clinical aspects of the Child First model and promote more rapid replication of the program in additional regions in order to serve a greater number of young children and families. Additionally, she will serve as a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the National Service Office and provide expertise for the organization regarding mental health issues and practices. In collaboration with Daidone, Lowell will work to build partnerships at the national, state and regional levels and to advocate for funding and public policy that benefit vulnerable children and families.

“I am so excited to be entering this new phase of growth and innovation as a leader within our combined organization. NFP has long been at the forefront of both intervention and research, serving mothers in poverty at the very earliest time, with a focus on both physical and relational health of mother and infant. We are a perfect match, based on both mission and culture,” said Lowell. “With the stressors and challenges of increased adversity – exacerbated by both COVID-19 and racism and inequity – it is imperative to bring our mental health expertise to a far greater number of very challenged young children and families. This opportunity and honor to partner with NFP and mutually extend and enhance our services is thrilling.”

Lowell, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, founded Child First in 2001 as an outgrowth of her clinical work with very vulnerable young children and families. Her community-based work led to the development of the Child First model, with subsequent research which proved its effectiveness. It has now been implemented in four states and is poised for rapid replication. Lowell earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and completed medical fellowships at Yale University. She is a fellow of Zero to Three, CT Association for Infant Mental Health, Child Health & Development Institute of CT, Harvard Center on the Developing Child’s Frontiers of Innovation, National Home Visiting Model Alliance and HRSA’s Home Visiting Research and Development National Advisory Council. Child First recently became a National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Training Center.

The National Service Office (NSO) is the central, unified operational structure for two evidence-based programs: Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First. In 2020, what was formerly the NSO solely for Nurse-Family Partnership joined forces with Child First, a merger empowering two proven, evidence-based models to share complementary expertise, infrastructure and integrated support services. The resulting unified entity works to ensure that healthcare, early childhood development and the mental health of the entire family are delivered in proven ways to achieve long-term positive outcomes.