Opening New Doors

“No wrong door” has been a mantra of the early childhood system in Kent County for decades. Regardless of where families turn for help – which door they open – they should be able to get answers to their questions and connections to the resources they need. Ready by Five has allowed us to build more doors across the community and make them easier for families to find.

The Ready by Five Navigation and Outreach Network has grown to eight partners, all of whom have expertise in connecting parents with information about early childhood development and support services in the community. They reach out to families, to help understand their individual needs and get them to the right programs and supports. They also answer the call when other community partners send families their way. We are growing the visibility of the network, so everyone who interacts with young children – from doctors and nurses to early educators to faith communities – knows to direct families there.

One of the new “doors” built in 2021 is on the First Steps Kent website. Families can go to to connect to navigation partners who will help them find child care, a pediatrician, play groups, baby supplies, rent assistance, or whatever else they need.

In 2021, 3,200 individuals were connected to community resources through Ready by Five navigation support. The most common requests included support with housing, child care, food access, baby supplies, and early intervention for developmental delays.

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