Relational Health

Our Relational Health Program’s goal is to educate early childhood professionals on how to use the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) for assessing and supporting the relational health between parents and young children. The WECS can be completed in under three minutes and is predictive of future outcomes. This practical screen enables professionals to provide immediate intervention, and offer families with the support that they need to strengthen their emotional connection.


The WECS is based on a co-regulation theoretical framework, which is needed to support children’s emotional self-regulation as part of early brain development. Research has shown that children in emotionally connected relationships at six months of age had fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems by the age of three when compared to the group that had not been in emotionally connected relationships.


 The WECS was developed by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, and First3Years is the first in the nation to implement the WECS with community based providers. First3Years provides training on early brain development, relational health and co-regulation, as well as training on the use of the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) to better understand the relational health between parents and children, and ongoing technical assistance for supporting relational health within the context and goals of each unique family-serving program.

For more information about the Relational Health Program, contact Naomie Kadima.