Children 1st


Children 1st  |  Children 1st Services  |  Children 1st Resources

Children 1st is the single point of entry for all DPH Child Health programs and services for children, birth - 5 years old, and links eligible children to early intervention services, as well as other public health programs and community-based resources.

All referrals made to DPH Child Health programs including Babies Can’t Wait (BCW), Children’s Medical Services (CMS), Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), and 1st Care must be made through Children 1st. 

Children 1st collaborates with families, healthcare providers, schools, and other agencies to identify children, from birth - 5 years of age,  who may be at risk for poor health outcomes and developmental delay.  Some children have medical conditions and environmental concerns that place them at greater risk for developmental delay. These risk conditions may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Prenatal Factors
    • History of maternal alcohol or substance abuse
    • Insufficient Prenatal Care (Little or no prenatal care)
    • Prenatal Exposure to therapeutic drugs with known potential for developmental implications
    • Maternal Age < 18 Years
    • Education Circumstances (Maternal education < 12 years)
  • Birth Factors
    • Extended Stay in the hospital/NICU Stay greater than 5 days
    • Congenital infections/abnormalities
    • Very Low Birth Weight (Less than 1500 grams)
    • Cleft Palate/Lip
    • Microcephaly
  • Infancy/Childhood Factors
    • Suspected or confirmed hearing or vision loss
    • Developmental speech or language disorder
    • Autism
    • Medical/Biological Conditions
    • Exposure to environmental lead or other toxins
  • Parental/Family Factors
    • Parental concern about the child’s growth or development
    • Homelessness/Lack of Housing
    • Legal Circumstances (Parental Incarceration)
    • Parental Unemployment
    • Child is in foster care

Note: This list does not include all child health-eligible risk conditions. Contact your local Children 1st Coordinator by using the  Maternal and Child Health Services Locator below to learn more about your child’s eligibility for programs and services.

  • When should I make a referral to Children 1st?

     If your child or a child in your care is between the ages of birth - 5 years old, and you have any concerns about the child’s growth and development, contact the Children 1st program for more information.

  • Who should make referrals to Children 1st?
    • Parents/Family Members
    • Regional Perinatal Centers
    • Birthing Hospitals Programs
    • Newborn Screening (Metabolic & Hearing)
    • Physicians
    • Public Health Programs
    • Daycares/Head Start Centers/Preschools/Childcare providers
    • Any community agency

    Anyone can refer children to Children 1st if there are concerns about the child’s growth and development.


    Children 1st - Related Files

  • How do I make a referral to Children 1st or other Child Health programs?
  • What happens after a child is referred to Children 1st?

    Eligibility for early intervention services will be determined by the child health program.

  • What is the cost for the Children 1st Program?

    There is no cost to families to participate in the Children 1st program. It is open to all children, birth - 5 years old, across the State of Georgia.


Page last updated  8/9/2022