Training and Technical Assistance
All Child First communities participate in extensive training of project staff as active members of a Learning Community using the Learning Collaborative methodology, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (2004). The Learning Collaborative was designed to facilitate the dissemination and adoption of best practices through system-wide organizational change, development of a Learning Community, and continuous improvement focused on a specific topic area or model.
A Learning Collaborative brings together various staff (e.g. clinical, supervisory, administrative) from multiple organizations to learn a new practice or improvement in care. This process includes multiple in-person trainings (Learning Sessions), “action periods” where staff pursue implementation at their agency with an emphasis on local innovation to foster improved quality, ongoing technical assistance and consultation, an emphasis on both organizational change and clinical competencies, and the use of data to measure and drive improvement. The Learning Collaborative ensures ongoing exchange, problem solving, and collaborative learning among four to six participating communities.
The Child First Learning Collaborative was originally developed in partnership with the CT Center for Effective Practice (CCEP), within the Child Health and Development Institute of CT (CHDI), which has extensive experience disseminating evidence-based practices. Child First conducts the Learning Collaborative over a period of twelve months, with in-person periods of interactive training, followed by one to three months of active intervention with families, with ongoing reflective consultation and technical assistance. All Child First communities and their staff are required to complete monthly Metrics and Fidelity Checklists so that they are able to track their personal progress and that of their site. Based on analysis of this information and feedback to the sites, sites devise quality improvement strategies, while fidelity to the model is monitored. The Child First Training Manual and Child First Toolkit provide information on intervention and procedures and provide the formal assessments and forms needed for implementation.
Child First Pre-Work
Prior to the first Learning Session, all Clinical Directors of Child First sites participate in a seminar to begin to familiarize themselves with the Child First model. When the Mental Health/Developmental Clinicians and Care Coordinators at the site are hired, the Clinical Director begins Pre-Work with the team, which is a combination of specific readings, close observations and recording of typical young children in home or community settings, review of videos, community outreach, and ongoing discussion.
Pre-Service Staff Training
Learning Sessions begin with intensive Pre-Service. All communities involved in training have all staff (Mental Health/Developmental Clinicians, Care Coordinators, Clinical Director) attend 5 – 8 days of training covering the essential components of the Child First intervention, including essential components of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP - Lieberman and Van Horn). After this training has been completed, staff may begin to visit children and families. Expert trainers lead these sessions, which combine in-person, highly interactive meetings and video/online experiences.
In-Service Staff Training
Child First staff continue to participate in the Learning Collaborative once teams begin seeing children and families. All staff receive formal training in trauma-informed CPP. These Learning Sessions are opportunities to develop strong collaborative relationships with other Child First sites. These sessions provide opportunities for targeted training and collaboration within different “Affinity Tracks,” including Mental Health/Developmental Clinicians, Care Coordinators, Clinical Directors, Executive Directors, and community partners. Staff must attend 80% of the sessions.
Clinical and reflective consultation/supervision of each site learning the Child First model is an essential component of training. This consultation is provided by an expert Child First Senior Supervisor on-site, web-based, or by phone for the first year, weekly for six months and then biweekly for the next six months. This consultation includes both a group format (all staff) and individual supervision/consultation with the Clinical Director. It includes a combination of case discussion, video review, and problem solving around all model components.
Ongoing Training and Technical Assistance
Child First provides ongoing training and technical assistance.
- Brief Intensive Trainings are held regularly to provide basic training for newly hired staff within existing Child First programs.
- Specialty sessions are held periodically to provide intensive training to augment selected components of the intervention, (e.g., Circle of Security, DC: 0-3 Diagnosis, video intervention)
- Technical assistance from the Central Program Office is provided through monthly phone calls and visits, as indicated.
- As part of the Child First Network, all sites will have the opportunity to participate in cross-site quarterly conferences and trainings, specialty trainings, and the Annual Child First Conference.
what people are saying
“I consider Child First one of the most impressive interventions for young children that I have ever witnessed in my long lifetime.”— Edward Zigler, Ph.D.
Founder and Director Emeritus
Zigler Center for Child Development at Yale University
Founder of Head Start
what people are saying
“You are amazing… Even though you're here for my daughter, you have impacted me in such a positive way... Thank you for not judging me.”— Child First Parent
what people are saying
“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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New York Times "Fixes" Columnist
Author of “How to Change the World”