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1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative

Why 1st Five?

The foundations of mental health are set in the first five years of life. During these years, children rapidly develop social and emotional capacities that prepare them to be self-confident, trusting, empathetic, intellectually inquisitive, competent in using language to communicate and capable of relating well to others. These emotional skills form the foundation of a child's "healthy mental development" - to develop the ability to regulate and express emotions, form close personal relationships with other children and adults, and explore and learn from their environment. This social-emotional foundation also plays a key role in determining a child's school readiness.

What is 1st Five?

Iowa's 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative builds partnerships between physician practices and public service providers to enhance high-quality well-child care. 1st Five promotes the use of developmental tools that support healthy mental development for young children during the first five years. By using a tool for all children that includes social-emotional development and family risk factors, providers are able to identify children at risk for developmental concerns that, if left untreated, would play out later in life.

Click here to learn more about 1st Five!

You may contact the following 1st Five staff for more information:

Amber Schon, 1st Five Coordinator -

New Opportunities provides 1st Five Healthy Mental Development to families in Audubon, Buena Vista, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac counties. 

In 2022... 

Staff provided care coordination to 46 families after receiving a referral from their medical provider, resulting in over 57 community resource connections for the families. Currently, 1st Five has 7 medical clinics making referrals to the program.


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