Children develop rapidly during the early years of life. Early nurturing, good health and stimulating experiences promote healthy development and performance in school. The Children 1st and First Care programs provide families with resources to help improve health and developmental outcomes for infants and children. When children are linked to the right services, they are better able to grow up healthy and ready for school.
How do Children 1st and First Care work?
Children through age 5 can be referred to Children 1st by a variety of community organizations for many different reasons. Usually a referral is made because a child could be at risk for poorer health or developmental outcomes. When we receive a referral, the Children 1st Coordinator contacts the child’s family to see if they would like to schedule a home visit with a developmental specialist. The visit involves asking parents questions about their child’s usual behavior as well as engaging in play activities with the child to see if he or she meets age-appropriate developmental milestones in areas such as motor skills, communication and personal-social skills. If a potential developmental delay or medical condition is identified, Children 1st connects the family to a program or agency with services that can help the child.
Children 1st also includes First Care, a similar program that helps families with babies who are at higher risk for poor health outcomes, such as babies who are born very small or very early. Families who participate in First Care schedule regular home visits with a nurse who can answer questions about their baby’s growth, development and overall health related to his or her condition. As with Children 1st, First Care links parents to resources and services that can offer additional support.
Both Children 1st and First Care are free and voluntary for families.
How to Participate:
Children 1st and First Care serve families of babies and children through age 5 who are at risk for poorer health or developmental outcomes. Sometimes a child may be at risk because of a health condition, but social and economic conditions can also contribute to risk. Children are referred to these programs by various people and organizations, including hospitals, pediatricians, day care centers and parents. If you are concerned that your child or a child you know may be in need of additional resources for health and development, please fill out and fax the referral form below to our Children 1st Coordinator or call or email her. (Contact information is listed below.)
Resources for Parents:
Resources for Healthcare Providers:
Children 1st District Coordinator: