Child First

We partner with you to build strong, loving relationships with your young children, ages 0-5, to heal and protect them from life’s many stresses and challenges.

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At a glance

Child First is a home visiting model that provides trauma informed therapeutic services tailored to your families needs.

A licensed clinician supports you and your family with therapeutic services proven to improve child and caregiver relationships.

A resource specialist helps to connect you with any necessary community resources and referrals.

This in-home service is available for families with children ages 0-5 who are Medicaid recipients residing in Cabarrus, Durham, Forsyth, and Mecklenburg counties. Sessions can be based around your scheduling needs.

National Results


of service needs addressed at the one year mark of treatment


decrease in child aggressive & defiant behaviors


decrease in maternal depression or mental health problems


in child language problems

Why Child First?

The data is clear, Child First works on many important life domains for children & their families.

We work to connect families to needed community-based services to decrease stress and build strong, loving, parent-child relationships that protect and heal the brain from trauma and stressOur goal is a young brain focused on learning rather than a brain focused on survival.

This may benefit you if you’ve experienced feeling overwhelmed by your child’s emotions or behaviors, or feeling consumed by the pressure of daily life stressors.

How does Child First work?

Our two-generation approach builds strong, nurturing, caregiver-child relationships, promotes adult capacity, and connects families with needed services.

This intervention uses an Infant Early Childhood Mental Heath framework to increase emotional health and learning success. Offered in both a community and home-based setting, we work to prevent child abuse and neglect.

“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

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions, we can help. Contact us.

Below are our current guidelines for who is eligible for the program.

  • Child lives in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Durham, or Forsyth County.
  • Child is 0-5 years of age.
  • Child has Medicaid.
  • Caregiver and/or child have an experience with various challenges including traumatic events, chronic stressors, or caregivers share developmental, social, emotional or behavioral concerns for the child at home or in childcare.
  • Child is experiencing foster care or kinship care, or other involvement with Child Welfare Services
  • Caregiver is able to engage in regularly scheduled (up to twice weekly during initial phase) therapy sessions with their child. At this time, we are unable to offer regular telehealth sessions.
  • Family structure can include any definition of family as long as there is legal consent to participate and caregiver can engage in regular sessions.

  • Frequent health problems
  • Support needed for emotional difficulties
    • Often irritable, angry, sad, overly worried, or shut down
    • Frequent tantrums (longer and more often than their peers)
  • History of experience with traumatic events such as domestic violence OR exposure to chronic stressors
  • Challenging behaviors at home or in childcare settings
  • Difficulty connecting or responding to a caregiver
  • Difficulty connecting with other children
  • Engaging in behaviors that are not typically expected at their age

  1. Utilize Online Form – please be prepared to provide the child’s Medicaid information, and parent contact information for this referral. (
  2. Follow up with family to review referral process, confirm interest, etc.
  3. Reach out to Child First Supervisors/Team to staff case if needed. We are happy to help you with identifying families who may benefit from our services.
  4. Upon referral receipt, the family can expect to hear from the Child First Team within 2-4 business days.

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