Child First Authority, Inc. was established in1996 in response to a two-year community organizing campaign by its founding partner BUILD, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development. In hundreds of meetings conducted one-on-one and in large and small groups, citizens expressed the need for safety, academic achievement, and opportunity for children and youth in Baltimore. With its emphasis on high expectations Child First’s mission is “to improve the quality of life in Baltimore City, where engaged parents organize institutional, individual, and community investment in children and youth as a public priority. Public schools will be the center of our organizing, serving as community hubs for enriching educational, recreational, cultural, civic and family activities.”
Since 1996 Child First has served more than 13,000 students in its after school and summer programs. Child First has maintained the theme “On the Way to College” in the belief that the opportunities that we provide together with reinforcing academic skills keep students on the right track for high school graduation, then college or workforce preparation. Child First received the largest grantee award for its BOOST programs from the Family League of Baltimore City. In 2008, Child First created High Expectations, an in-school mentoring program for hard to reach youth. Continuing in the tradition of its founding, Child First has a staff of professional organizers who work to develop leadership and collaborative action among parents, community partners, and schools. We currently partner with seventeen schools in communities throughout the city.