Child FIRST: A Program to Help Very Young At-Risk Children

Chapter 12

This chapter of To Improve Health and Health Care, Volume XV, focuses on Child First, a family-based intervention to prevent mental health problems in high-risk mothers and young children.

The brainchild of a dynamic pediatrician named Darcy Lowell, Child First was initially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Local Initiative Funding Partners program (now known as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships program). Child First has shown promising results in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is now being replicated throughout the state and beyond.

Despite the difficult economic times, which can threaten the viability of resource-intensive programs such as Child First, the State of Connecticut allocated funds to expand the program.

In this chapter, Digby Diehl, a writer whose most recent book, Rather Outspoken, a collaboration with Dan Rather, appeared earlier this year, discusses this innovative program and its replication.