Children 1st was established by the Georgia Division of Public Health to ensure early identification of children considered to be at risk for poor health or development and to connect them to a primary healthcare provider. The program is for children age birth through 5 years with a broad range of risk conditions. Linking these children with primary healthcare providers gives them access to comprehensive health assessments, developmental monitoring, and referral to appropriate services.
Children enter the Children 1st program through a statewide screening process by hospital personnel, birth certificate review or identification by health department staff, private physicians, child-care providers, parents or others. Children who have established medical conditions or biological/environment risk factors present are eligible for enrollment and data is entered on the Children 1st identification form. The Children 1st Coordinator receives the referral and assures follow-up with the child and family.
If the family agrees, the child is enrolled in the program. Linking and monitoring services are provided by public health nurses from local county health departments. Children 1st staff conduct periodic in-home evaluation of children enrolled in the program, and provide parents with general health care information.
Linkage with a primary care physician is encouraged. If private sector care is not available, the local public health department provides periodic health assessments. Families may also be referred to Woman, Infants & Children (WIC), Immunizations, Children’s Medical Services, Babies Can’t Wait, Medicaid, Head Start or other community resources. Children 1st staff continue to monitor the child’s health through contacts with the primary healthcare provider in order to assure that services are being provided over time.
Children 1st Contact Information:
Local – 229-293-6286
Long Distance – 800-316-8044
State of Georgia Children 1st – http://health.state.ga.us/programs/childrenfirst/