First Things First partners with families and communities to help our state’s youngest children prepare for kindergarten and beyond.
Many young children in Arizona face challenges that threaten their healthy development and learning. In the Gila River Indian Community Region, there are 1,530 children (under age 6).
Here is how FTF is working to support young children and their families in this region.
“Our children are precious and amazing. Each child deserves every opportunity to discover their potential. I am thankful to those who started and who continue this extremely impactful work.”
Gila River Indian Community Regional Key Impact Highlights
[Fiscal Year 2020]
60 Families with young children participated in voluntary home visiting programs proven to reduce parental stress levels, increase connections to community supports, and improve children’s cognitive, motor, behavioral and social-emotional development.
254 Children attended preschools and child care programs participating in Quality First.
45 Children birth to age 5 received a Quality First scholarship to attend high-quality preschools and child care programs.
4 Preschools and child care programs participated in Quality First, receiving coaching, quality improvement supports, health consultation and access to professional development.
77 Children monitored to receive appropriate screenings to detect vision, hearing and developmental issues to prevent learning challenges later on.
2 Early childhood educators received college scholarships to improve their skills in working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Gila River Indian Community Family Story
Home visitation program helps teen mom from Coolidge care for her daughter
Evelia Acuna found out she was pregnant at age 15. As the fourth of nine children, Acuna had experience caring for her younger siblings, but she felt unprepared to take on the full responsibility of her own child.
“I was overwhelmed,” Acuna said. “I was 15, and I was barely still in high school. I was living with my boyfriend, because my mom couldn’t provide for me.”
Through referrals from Gila River Health Care, Acuna, who lives in Coolidge, signed up for the Well Child Family Care program when she was six months pregnant.
FTF Gila River Indian Community Regional Partnership Council
SFY20 Total Regional Program Expenditures
The FTF Gila River Indian Community Regional Partnership Council is made up of volunteers who study the unique needs of the local community and decide how funds should be used to best support the healthy development and early learning of young children birth to age 5. FTF invests in proven programs and innovative strategies through grants to community organizations that provide services to children and families. Some of the programs in this region include Quality First and Home Visitation/Parenting Education, Baby Smarts Program.
|Quality Child Care and Preschool
|Research and Evaluation
Geographically, the FTF Gila River Indian Community is located on 372,000 acres of land in south-central Arizona. The community lies south of the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler, and north of Casa Grande, and its east to west borders run from Coolidge to Tolleson. The FTF Gila River Indian Community Region includes Legislative Districts 8 and 27. (Legislative districts are not necessarily congruent with regional boundaries.)