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Building on the past. Investing in the future.

We Believe Every Child Is Filled With Tremendous Potential.

At Children & Families First, our commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of all children and their families has made our name our promise.


We know children thrive when they have regular interactions with responsive, caring adults. We also know the weight of poverty, systemic racism, depression or other mental health challenges creates toxic stress that can overload parents' abilities to provide the supportive relationships children need.


Using brain science research as the foundation for our framework, Children & Families First engages more than 20,000 children, youth, and families each year in programs, services, and supports proven to prevent, intervene, and heal the immediate and lasting impacts of toxic stress and trauma. 


Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential and we believe investing in children and families is the single most powerful lever to create a healthier society and stronger economy for us all, now and in the future.  

OUR NAME IS OUR PROMISE. We are proud to be Children & Families First


We help children facing adversity on their journey to adulthood using proven methods to help families raise their children so they can flourish.


We envision communities where children are nurtured, healthy, and safe; individuals are valued; and families are strong and self-sufficient.


Accountability: We implement program specific and organization-wide Performance and Quality Improvement processes to review effectiveness, manage outcomes, and make informed decisions.


Advocacy: Our Policy Agenda advocates for a just system where historically marginalized communities can access the tools, resources, and opportunities to reach their fullest potential.

Collaboration: We collaborate with research institutions and participate in community-based research to ensure our Service Approach is evidence-based, informed, and positively supports those we serve.

Cultural Competency: Our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee strives to align all aspects of our practices, policies, and procedures with a commitment to equitable access, representation, and respect. 

Empowerment: Our Brain Science Training Institute empowers individuals and groups to support persons affected by trauma through education on the individual and community implications of trauma.

Respect: Our Programs are child-centered,  family focused, and respect that by listening and working alongside those we serve, every family has strengths to build upon.

Responsiveness: Our Trauma Response Team mitigates the effects of secondary trauma impacting our staff as the result of individual, community, and national crises.


In 1884, concerned members of our community came together to help meet the needs of their neighbors struggling with the lasting impacts of the Panic of 1873 economic crisis. Thus began a legacy of caring individuals, working together and dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. 


Through various mergers and expansions since then, Children & Families First has become one of Delaware's oldest and most trusted leaders in addressing the needs of children and families. Now a statewide organization, we engage over 25,000 individuals each year steadfast in our commitment to make the health, safety, and well-being of Delaware's children and families our top priority.

As we look to the future, we acknowledge our shared obligation to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future for Children & Families First and for the communities we serve. We pursue bold change - using brain science research, listening to the voices of those we serve, and seeking intentional collaboration to innovate, advocate, transform systems, and continuously improve our practices.









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