While Invest in Kids currently supports two evidence-based programs, our founders’ vision was always to identify a menu of evidence-based programs for Colorado communities to consider. Our hope is to continue identifying impactful programs to ultimately add a third option in support of more children and families. Thus, in 2019, we embarked on a process to go beyond our current understanding of the early childhood needs in Colorado, further investigate the availability of evidence-based programs to fill such needs, and ultimately identify a third program that is both ready for large scale replication and that could benefit from the implementation supports that Invest in Kids provides.
Engagement in a comprehensive readiness process is a strong predictor of whether that program will be able to be sustained in the long term, and a key step in successful implementation. In recognizing the importance of this critical period when considering a new evidence-based program for implementation, Invest in Kids is currently engaged in thorough exploration. This will increase understanding around the feasibility of bringing the potential program, called Child First, to Colorado.
Child First is a two-generation mental health intervention delivered in the home. It serves children prenatally through age 5 along with their parent or caregiver. Child First works to heal young children and families from the effects of trauma and adversity by pairing them with a Master’s level clinician and Bachelor’s level care coordinator who will conduct home visits with the family for approximately 6-9 months. While the clinician is focused on Child Parent Psychotherapy, the coordinator works with the family to connect them with any community services and supports they may need.
During this feasibility phase, Invest in Kids is working to identify potential sustainable funding sources for the program in Colorado, understand the fit of the program within the child welfare, mental health, and home visiting sectors, understand the mental health workforce in Colorado, and support Colorado counties in engaging community stakeholders as they explore the need and fit of the program. We look forward to sharing more as we continue this exploration phase!