Child First, Fostering Healthy Futures under review for Colorado’s Family First Prevention Plan

June 22, 2020

In November, Colorado developed a plan to review prevention programs to be considered as part of the state’s Family First Prevention Services Act plan. Now, Child First and Fostering Healthy Futures – have begun the complete review process to assess whether they meet Family First’s evidence-based requirements.

Child First, already in practice in eight Colorado counties, is based on these fundamental principles:

  • Stable and nurturing parent-child relationships are the cornerstone of emotional well-being and the foundation for language and cognitive development.
  • Child First uses an ecological approach to understand the child. We focus on the child’s health and development, his important relationships, and the challenges experienced by his parents and caregivers that prevent them from nurturing and supporting the child’s development.
  • All behavior has meaning. This is the way young children communicate. It is our goal to help parents and caregivers reflect on and understand the feelings and motivations underlying their child’s behavior.
  • To help a child we must help the family. All parents/caregivers want to give their children the best possible opportunity to succeed. When caregivers face multiple stressors and their basic needs are not met, it is difficult for them to focus on the emotional and developmental needs of their children.
  • Lasting change within the family comes from a collaborative, “family-driven” approach.
  • Helping relationships follow the principle of “parallel process.”
  • Every interaction with a child or family is an opportunity for a positive intervention.

Fostering Healthy Futures is a positive youth development program that uses mentoring and skills training to empower youth to foster their own healthy futures. With specific trainings for preteens and teens, Fostering Healthy Futures partners highly trained mentors who are graduate students with young people in foster care. There are three Fostering Healthy Futures programs, all of which employ a positive youth development approach to promote healthy development and reduce trauma-related symptoms and behaviors. The program is consistent with Colorado and Family First’s values of increasing permanency, reducing congregate care, supporting kinship care and using evidence-based practices

Child First and Fostering Healthy Futures successfully completed a review by Colorado’s Service Continuum Working Group, which scores all submitted programs using a standardized rubric. Now, a team of evaluators at the University of Denver will assess the programs and their outcomes to ensure they meet the requirements to be an evidence-based service on Family First Clearinghouse. The review will be complete within three months.

Have a program you want to submit for review? Learn more about the process here.

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