To encourage families to build strong relationships. The program provides quality training for home visitors and program leadership to ensure meaningful family and community outcomes.
The program is relationship-centered and curriculum-based. Families who participate in home visits receive coaching, support, information about early childhood development, health, nutrition and safety and learn fun activities to help build brain development and learning. The First Born Program was named one of the nation’s 10 most innovative and exemplary prevention programs in 2002 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, along with several other agencies.
Through weekly home visits, families identify personal goals, recognize challenges and opportunities for growth and build a healthy, loving, playful relationship with their child.
Children are born learning. The foundation of relationships, experiences and skills developed in the first five years support a lifetime of success. The First Born Program supports child development in the areas of social emotional development, language, literacy and problem solving skills. Investing early means better outcomes for children, happier families and healthier communities.
Director, First Born® Model Office and Institute for Innovative Family Programs
Tekla Johnson, First Born Statewide and National First Born Program Director, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Doula and has Infant Mental Health Endorsement (Level II) in the state of New Mexico. She has 20 years of home visiting experience and more than ten years of experience with the First Born® Home Visiting program. After working as a home visitor for 9 years, Ms. Johnson moved into a leadership role and served as the program manager for the Santa Fe First Born® Program during its startup phase, and first five years of implementation. She has worked as a direct program manager as well as providing supervision and oversight to program managers as VP of Leadership and Innovation. Having worked at all levels of home visiting (as well as receiving home visiting services for her child through early intervention), Ms. Johnson enjoys supporting programs to implement high quality services for families, focused on joy, learning and strong relationships.
Program Manager, First Born® Model Office
Topeka Morro-Vega has over 20 years of social work experience and over 15 years of child welfare administration experience. She worked at all levels within the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, from case manager to county director. Most recently, Ms. Morro-Vega served as a Program Director responsible for the design and implementation of a program serving unaccompanied minors who immigrate to the United States without adult supervision. She brings a wealth of experience in providing leadership, strategic planning, decision making, client/team management, contract management, data management, cultural diversity, and implementation of programs at a senior level. Her expertise lies in her ability to collaborate with senior and junior leadership and support them in thinking broadly and creatively about how to affect change. Ms. Morro-Vega is passionate about working with children and their families and is excited about supporting the First Born® Program.
First Born® Administrative Assistant
Marisol is a mother to three talented & smart boys Jordan, Jayden, and Josiah. She is married to a wonderful man that has been a basketball coach for 20 plus years. Outside of work, she spends time with family on the basketball court or football field cheering on her boys. Marisol has completed the Community Health Worker/Home Visitor Certification course and is a part-time student, working towards her degree at Santa Fe Community College.
Amy Williams, MD, Medical Director, a native of New Mexico, Dr. Williams has been practicing pediatrics for the past 11 years. She has worked in Africa, Alaska, Utah and finally returned home to New Mexico in 2017. Dr. Williams is passionate about providing care to underserved areas, and is excited to support First Born with their program. In her spare time she enjoys hiking with her husband and 2 dogs.
“I see how my family and home visitor have adapted to the new ways of doing our home visits and I commend all the workers with First Born too. You guys are unstoppable."
"I love that my daughter can see, speak, and talk to [our home visitor] through zoom meetings. My daughter is happy and gets over-excited, wants all the attention, and shows off at times. It is great!"
"We often feel like we’re barely keeping our heads above water and our home visitor’s visits make us feel like Olympic swimmers."
"We love all the helpful information and feedback and reflection. We also like just having the time to discuss any topic that is current for us."