PLATINUM2023

First3Years

Our Impact Lasts a Lifetime

Addison, TX   |  www.first3yearstx.org

Mission

First3Years nurtures early relational and mental health of infants and toddlers in Texas. Working in deep collaboration with caregivers, parents, and professionals statewide, we cultivate strong early childhood systems, educate our workforce, and advance best practices. Our vision is that all infants and toddlers in Texas spend their first three years in an ecosystem that supports the healthy development of their early mental and relational health. Our programs: • Build awareness of the critical importance of the first three years of life. • Enhance the quality of relationships between infants/toddlers and their caregivers. • Advocate for policies and practices that support the healthy development of young children. • Educate early childhood professionals in best practices.

Ruling year info

1986

CEO

Kallie Benes

Main address

15851 Dallas Parkway, #106

Addison, TX 75001 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Texas Association for Infant Mental Health

EIN

75-2067421

NTEE code info

Family Services (Adolescent Parents) (P45)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (O01)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

By the time a child turns three, 85% of core brain development has occurred. During these first 3 years of life, the brain undergoes dramatic development as it builds the circuits and processes that become the foundation for all other learning. The everyday experiences that infants and toddlers have with their parents and caregivers help shape how their brains become hardwired to learn and interact with the world around them. These experiences impact a child’s ability to reach 3rd grade reading levels, graduate from high school, and contribute fully to society as an adult. In Texas, nearly 60% of the 1.6 million children under 3 years of age, will receive care from an early child care center or home provider. First3Years fills an important knowledge gap by providing those working directly with young children with research-based knowledge, & skills development opportunities that directly impacts the quality of care their clients receive.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Professional and Parent Education

Our aim is to empower a community that is prepared to care for and nurture children. We work to ensure all caregivers and engaged stakeholder systems are provided with the access to current research and best practices on Infant Mental Health and Early Relational Health topics. We provide early childhood professionals, caregivers, and parents effective tools and strategies to foster healthy brain development for infants and toddlers. We are the sole provider of Infant Mental Health endorsement for professionals in the state of TX. Endorsement is based upon a comprehensive set of competencies that help define best practice and guides an organized system of culturally sensitive, relationship-based professional growth.

Population(s) Served

A nationally recognized system, Endorsement helps to recognize and document the development of infant and family professionals within an organized system of culturally sensitive, relationship-based, infant mental health learning and work experiences. Endorsement verifies that an applicant has attained a level of education as specified, participated in specialized in-service trainings, worked with guidance from mentors or supervisors, and acquired knowledge to promote the delivery of high quality, culturally sensitive, relationship-focused services to infants, toddlers, parents, other caregivers and families. As the Endorsement program grows, it will provide information of significant benefit to employers, referral sources, and the courts seeking expert witnesses related to the social and emotional development of infants and young children and their families.

Population(s) Served
Caregivers
Adults

A collaborative approach designed to transform the experience of infants and toddlers in the child welfare system from traumatic to healing. This is accomplished through supporting their attachment needs at the most critical times in a child's development and supporting birth and foster parents to work together during visitation. Safe Babies also uses the co-parenting model as they reunify birth parents with their children after being separated by the child welfare system, when appropriate.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

Our Community Systems efforts focus on building a locally informed, better-connected early childhood system that can adequately meet the developmental and relational health needs of families. This work originated in the Greater Houston area and is poised to deepen and grow. Current efforts lead the Houston Infant Toddler Coalition as well as the Babies in Baytown initiative.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families
Foster and adoptive parents

Baby Day is the only statewide celebration of the first three years of life, when early experiences shape lifelong potential. Held annually across the state, Baby Day provides children and their caregivers an opportunity to participate in activities that promote bonding and delight. Our website, babyday.us, also provides caretakers resources year-round and monthly webinar trainings centered around highly sought out topics in the early childhood development space.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Caregivers
Parents
Families
Domestic workers
Infants and toddlers
Caregivers
Parents
Families
Domestic workers

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health 2005

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Professional and Parent Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Large increase noted in 2020 is due to free access to online trainings during COVID.

Number of cases monitored

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Safe Babies

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

With new funding in Harris County - we will be serving an additional 75 families in the Houston area.

Number of children entering foster care achieving permanency in 12 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Safe Babies

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, 25% of children were reunified by 12 months, and 75% we reunified with an average of 14.9 months. These numbers were of 12 cases ending in reunification. Due to COVID, permanency was impacted

Number of youth who re-enter foster care

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Safe Babies

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of Infants and Toddlers impacted by First3Years trained professionals.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Professional and Parent Education

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Dip in 2020 due to professionals not being able to work directly with children during the pandemic.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our vision is that all infants and toddlers in TX are surrounded by an ecosystem that supports the healthy development of their early mental and relational health.

We serve the community by linking research to practice and making it accessible to all.

As part of our overall mission to create and support a higher quality workforce in the infant-toddler field, First3Years works to support and recognize those who have specialized skills and training around infant mental health through our Endorsement Program.

With regards to advocacy, First3Years has demonstrated effectiveness in educating and influencing policy makers. First3Years was instrumental in the Texas Legislature's raising the pre-service training requirements for child care licensing from 8 to 24 hours, and ongoing professional development training from 8 to 24 hours per year.

• Improving the Health and Well-being of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers: Our independent
evaluation of Safe Babies by The Institute for Family and Child Wellbeing at UT Austin showed:
o Increased reunification for Safe Babies vs. comparison groups, meaning families are more
likely to experience healing and return home together.
o Decreased recidivism, meaning that when children exit foster care, they are NOT re-entering
the system 6 or 12 months later measured against the comparison group showing 11% & 17%.
o Better health outcomes. Safe Babies cases are more likely to be referred to and receive
early intervention services and exit foster care developmentally on track.

• Partnering to Promote Relational Health: In partnership with Columbia University and UNT,
First3Years is launching an initiative to focus on relational health screenings through use of the Welch
Emotional Connection Screen (WECS). This is the first community-based implementation of the
model in the country. “The WECS can help professionals who work with families to better understand
behavioral problems in a new way and provides more helpful support based on those insights.”

• Building Capacity for a Specialized Infant-Toddler Workforce: First3Years continues to provide
trainings and mentoring that enables professionals in the field to apply current developmental
research to their work with families. In 2018, more than 2,570 individuals participated in nearly
12,500 hours of training. Participants’ feedback highlights how “Understanding trauma informed care
helps me (the professional) serve my maternal/child health clients better.”

• Celebrating the Critical Importance of the 1st Three Years: 2018 was a year of planning to launch
Baby Day™ (February 2019) – the first celebration in the country to highlight how wonderful the
early years are for early brain development. Nearly 1,500 individuals participated in activities across
the state that promoted bonding and delight.

First3Years was founded in 1980 by early care professionals who were concerned about the quality of care young children receive. A statewide organization, the mission of First3Years is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to advance the healthy development of infants and toddlers.

Our programs:
• Increase awareness of the critical importance of the first three years of life.
• Support conditions that enhance the quality of infant and toddler/caregiver relationships.
• Advocate for policies and practices that support the healthy development of young children, and
• Educate the birth-to-three workforce in best practices.

First3Years is the only organization in Texas working across sectors to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers through training and certification. Parents, caregivers, and professionals must have access to current research about infant/toddler development to help children reach their greatest potential as adults. With increased understanding of the need for information on infant/toddler development and a gap in state policies to require more rigorous training and licensing, the demand for First3Years' programs has steadily increased. For more than 38 years, we have played an important role in advancing public and professional awareness about infant/toddler development; now we are poised to take our organization to the next level to make a significantly larger impact.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

First3Years
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

First3Years

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Benjie Esguerra


Board co-chair

Julie Kane

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/26/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.