Child First

Child First is a national, evidence-based, two-generation model created in Connecticut to address toxic stress and trauma in historically under-resourced families with young children.

The Child First approach is unique in combining comprehensive, coordinated services, psychotherapeutic intervention for child and caregiver, and increasing adult self-regulation and executive functioning in a single model, resulting in long-term positive outcomes for children and families through all stages of development. The Child First intervention targets those families experiencing the most complex, intersecting adversities, decreases stress within the family, increases stability, facilitates connection to growth-promoting services, and supports the development of healthy, nurturing, protective relationships.

  • Child-Parent Intervention: Child First provides Child-Parent Psychotherapy which helps build a nurturing, responsive, and safe caregiver-child relationship. This protects the child’s developing brain from the damage of chronic stress, helps heal the effects of trauma and adversity for both child and parent, and promotes strong emotional health and cognitive growth.
  • Executive Functioning: Child First partners with parents and caregivers to strengthen executive function and self-regulation, which shape our abilities to plan ahead, focus attention, remember details, control impulses, and juggle multiple tasks. This sets up caregivers to best nurture the child’s development of these skills and provides a safe, growth-enhancing environment.
  • Intensive Care Coordination: Child First helps directly decrease the stress experienced by the family members by helping them to identify, navigate, and connect with comprehensive community-based services and supports, leading to family stabilization, decreased stress, and utilization of growth-enhancing community resources.

The Child First Boston expansion will be driven by the community. Over the next year, affiliate agencies will be selected and trained in the Child First approach. With $2.4M already committed outside of GreenLight’s investment, and robust partnerships in early childhood and mental health, Child First is expected to serve 2,000+ children and families over their first four years.

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