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Program Spotlight: Child First

Leticia and Ben were reluctant to reach out for help, but their fighting was starting to affect their children. Leticia’s alcohol abuse often led to aggressive behavior and sudden disappearances. This was especially hard for their three-year-old daughter, Lía. Studies show that stress in the environment can damage a child’s emotional development, mental health, and even the ability to learn.

Denver Human Services referred the family to our Child First program in September 2021. Since then, a mental health clinician and a family support partner have provided weekly home-based treatments, including Parent-Child Psychotherapy. In these sessions, the children play out family scenarios and learn to express a range of difficult emotions such as missing their mom.

Colorado is the fourth state to have a Child First program. The goal is to prevent abuse and neglect by partnering with the most vulnerable families early in a child’s life. In the words of Crystal Christensen, Child First Manager, “We can either prevent the problem now or pay for it later.”


Families with children prenatal to five-years-old who encounter:

  • Fighting in the home
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Housing and food insecurity
  • Behavioral issues or delays in development

  • Mental health treatment
  • Parent education
  • Care coordination for doctors, dentists, food, housing, and other basic needs

"We can either prevent the problem now or pay for it later."

A contribution of any size helps to provide early intervention for Colorado’s most vulnerable kids and families.

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