First 5 Contra Costa in Concord, California, has announced a $5 million grant from the Thomas J. Long Foundation in support of its efforts to identify and treat developmental delays early in childhood.
The grant, which will be shared with First 5 Alameda County, will be used to expand the organization's Help Me Grow model, which promotes early detection of developmental delays in young children, including speech problems, behavioral challenges, and autism, and ensure timely access to services needed to address those delays. The funds will support the training of more pediatricians and child care providers on a developmental screening tool that checks children's developmental progress, with screening prioritized for low-income children and those in non-English-speaking households. The grant also will support an awareness campaign about the importance of early screening and how to access it.
"The optimal time to detect and address concerns is in the first three years, when children's brains are still forming and are most receptive to intervention," said Janis Burger, CEO of First 5 Alameda County County. "Early detection and treatment services can vastly improve developmental outcomes for children with special needs and prevent further progression of delays. We’re thrilled to expand our services with this grant and make developmental screening a routine part of early childhood."