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Implementing Child First

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Training to Support Implementation

Last Updated

June 2016


Requirements for Program Certification

Child First affiliate agencies must participate in periodic accreditation from Child First, Inc. The accreditation process includes a review of program metrics and assessment outcomes, the program fidelity checklist, the clinical fidelity framework, clinical charts, videos, training participation, use of the Child First Community Advisory Board, and agency compliance with other requirements. Sites receive accreditation, provisional accreditation, or probation based on their fidelity to the Child First model. Any site that receives provisional accreditation or probation must participate in a quality enhancement plan or quality improvement plan, respectively, and meet timelines for improvements.


Pre-Service Staff Training

All Child First staff are trained using the Learning Collaborative methodology, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The Child First Learning Collaborative lasts 12 months and has several phases that extend from pre-service through in-service training.

The pre-service portion occurs over the first month and encompasses nine days of in-person training and the following, sequential phases:

  1. Clinical director/supervisors are trained in the model and reflective supervision and prepare to hire staff.
  2. Staff conduct foundational readings and child observations.
  3. Staff receive in-person training from Child First staff based in the replication region. The training covers an overview of the Child First model.
  4. Staff participate in distance learning that entails online modules, video-conferencing, and group discussion.
  5. Staff participate in a 4 to 5 day intensive training to prepare to work with families.
  6. Sites undergo a two-day on-site training to use the CFCR system for EHRs.


In-Service Staff Training

Shortly after pre-service training, staff receive a total of 16 days of in-person, in-service training over an 11-month period. The training includes four days of training in trauma-informed child-parent psychotherapy plus booster sessions, additional in-person learning sessions, and distance learning. Staff may also participate in one or more specialty conferences (one-to-two days long), depending on the population served and identified training needs.

Sites also receive reflective clinical consultation from the state clinical director. During the 12-month training period, consultation is weekly for six months, and then biweekly for six months. Each session includes two hours of group consultation with all clinical teams and one hour of individual consultation with the clinical director. After the 12-month period, the clinical director continues receiving consultation biweekly. All clinical directors in a state or region also attend monthly Child First Clinical Directors’ Network Meetings. Meetings last two hours and include case presentations, clinical discussion, and administrative and management updates and problem solving.


Training Materials

Training materials consist of the Child First training manual and Child First tool kit (which include all assessments and procedures). Staff also receive a training manual for each learning session, which includes an agenda, the curriculum, and all associated handouts, readings, and presentations. All affiliate agencies also receive child development and early childhood mental health articles and books, with discussion questions and guided discussions led by the site clinical director and the state clinical director.


Qualified Trainers

Training is conducted by the Child First Training Department, which includes staff from the National Training Office (within the National Program Office) and experts in the field. Experts may include individuals from the replicating state with expertise in areas such as domestic violence, the child welfare system, or the court system.


Technical Assistance

Affiliate agencies can request technical assistance at any time. Child First National Program Office leadership provides the technical assistance and conducts quarterly group meetings and/or conference calls with Child First network senior leaders.



The information contained on this page was last updated in June 2016. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Child First executive director on May 12, 2016. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.