Identification of children and families who may benefit from the Child First intervention may be made by any community-based service provider or by the family itself. This may be through a formal screening process (as may occur in early care and education, or pediatric primary care settings) or through informal identification based on concerns about the child and family. While children may be symptomatic, with behavioral or developmental problems, they may also come from high risk environments and have no current symptoms.
Child First serves families with mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration, domestic violence, and homelessness; some families are undocumented. It is expected that many of the families will have active involvement with child protective services, including children in foster care. Referrals are prioritized based on the urgency of the need.
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“Child First has marshaled strong evidence demonstrating the ability to intervene early, at relatively low cost, to reduce the harm caused by childhood stress in extremely high-need families.”— David Bornstein
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