Essential Program Elements

First Born Program characteristics

The First Born® Program (FBP) is a unique home visiting program designed to meet the needs of first-time families. All services are free, voluntary and offered to all women pregnant for the first time and first-time families within the program service area regardless of economic or health status. Services may begin at any time during pregnancy or at the birth of the baby and may continue until the child is 36 months.

The FBP approach to promoting health is a paradigm shift from the way that healthcare services are typically delivered in New Mexico and in the rest of the U.S. The FBP represents a reorientation of child and human services toward early investment and prevention away from attempting to “treat” poor outcomes later in the life cycle. Investing resources in early childhood produces better outcomes, saves money and improves quality of life in a community. In fact, one cost saving study of home visiting programs demonstrated a 5.7 to 1 return on investment for every dollar spent on home visiting.*

The success of the First Born Program is based on the following Best Practices program characteristics:

Relationship-based approach

At the core of any successful home visiting program are relationships because all human development occurs both through and within relationships. This approach supports and respects each family’s unique abilities as well as their ethnic, financial, cultural, and linguistic diversity. All goals are family-driven.

Screening and assessments

Because infancy and early childhood are times of rapid growth and development, the First Born Program completes assessments and screenings at regular intervals to ensure that children and their caregivers are integrated into each community’s continuum of care.

Inclusion of parents/other family members

Because infants and toddlers are profoundly influenced by their parents, other family members, and their community, services are integrated with their families and community.

Staff/family ratios

Caseload size allows home visitors to devote adequate time to plan and build strong relationships with children, families and community.

Staff knowledgeable about very young children

The First Born staff is knowledgeable about infant and toddler development and is experienced in working with children and their families. The First Born training protocols are comprehensive.

Staff supervision and training

First Born staff receives weekly one-on-one supervision and on-going training opportunities and continuing education.

Core Curricula

The First Born Program has comprehensive and flexible core curricula written specifically for FBP. The scope of the curricula includes the prenatal period, the first year of life, and the toddler years. The curricula are copyrighted, updated frequently, and are based on current prenatal and early childhood research.

Multidisciplinary Coordination

For families involved with more than one service provider, services are provided in a coordinated fashion.

Intensity of services

Services are offered initially on a weekly basis to meet the needs of families. Service intensity may increase or decrease to meet the changing needs of families.

Strong evaluation component

Independent, external program evaluation has been a priority and key component of the First Born® Program since its inception. The Program has been evaluated by New Mexico State University and the RAND Corporation.

Transition planning

Transitions from hospital to home, from FBP into a more intensive intervention program or from FBP into a program designed for three-to-five year olds are carefully planned to ensure continuity of services for the child and family.

*Karoly, Lynn A., M. Rebecca Kilburn, and Jill S. Cannon. “Early Childhood Interventions: Proven Results, Future Promise.” PsycEXTRA Dataset. RAND Corporation, 2005.