Early childhood experiences of trauma and toxic stress can affect how young children develop and are associated with learning and behavior problems. Child First is a promising home visiting program that aims to mitigate or prevent these negative experiences for families to promote healthy development for kids.
An initial study of Child First found that the program improved children's social-emotional skills and language development, reduced mother's depression and improved their psychological functioning, reduced family involvement with child protective services, and increased families' connections to services and support.
In this episode, Leigh Parise talks with Mervett Hefyan, a research analyst at MDRC; Massiel Abramson, a clinician with Child First in Connecticut; and Jessica Canavan, a licensed clinical social worker and assistant director of community-based services at her organization in North Carolina, which houses a Child First program. They discuss MDRC's replication study of Child First and how the program adapted their home-visiting model during the pandemic to continue helping families.