PINAL COUNTY (October 11, 2023) — As Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First (FTF) is pleased to announce the investment of $5.2 million in early childhood programs in the FTF Pinal Region, which includes the cities/towns of Casa Grande, Maricopa, Florence, Coolidge, Eloy, Apache Junction, San Tan Valley and the Copper Corridor. As of July 1, funding for the following services/ programs have been extended or added:
- Home visitation
- Parenting education
- Developmental and sensory screenings
- Oral health screenings
- Quality First
- Family, Friend and Neighbor Care
- Smart Support
Over the past year, volunteers who serve on the FTF Pinal Regional Partnership Council studied the needs of young children in their communities in order to recommend to the FTF state Board how best to address those needs. At its May and June meetings, the Board approved grants to organizations that will implement the selected strategies.
“So much happens in the early years for children,” said FTF Pinal Regional Director Katrina DeVinny. “The programs we fund lend support to parents and families during these years as children are in the most important developmental stages of their lives.”
The free programs which are available to parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers include:
- A series of group parenting classes proven to increase your understanding of child development and improve your parenting skills, provided by the Apache Junction Public Library Fun Van.
- Having your child checked for dental, vision, hearing or developmental concerns (including communication, social-emotional, problem solving and motor skills) and, if needed, get a referral for further evaluation or support. These screenings are provided by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension program.
- Working one-on-one with a trained and caring parent educator, in the convenience of your own home to build on the parenting skills you already have and nurture your child’s health, development and learning. This voluntary home visitation program called Parents as Teachers is provided by EasterSeals Blake Foundation.
- Learning how you can better support the health, development and learning of the young children in your care through health and safety practices, educational activities and understanding more about child development. The Family, Friend and Neighbor Care provided by the United Way of Pinal County.
FTF works across Arizona to give children birth to age 5 the tools they need to arrive at kindergarten prepared to succeed. Research has shown a child’s early experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of success in school and beyond.
Parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to support the healthy development of their child by connecting with these free programs and services in their community.
By entering an address in FTF’s online search tool, Find Programs, FirstThingsFirst.org/find-programs, families will be able to find early childhood programs that meet their needs and interests and is near them. All are offered at no cost to the family. Information is available in English and Spanish.
About First Things First — As Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First is committed to the healthy development and learning of young children from birth to age 5. It funds services to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how to invest early childhood funds are informed by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit FirstThingsFirst.org.