LANL Community Partnerships Office Facilitates Los Alamos JJAB And First Born of Los Alamos Collaboration


Last Fall, Los Alamos JJAB approached Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) about the possibility of acquiring funding to kickstart a collaboration between JJAB’s Resource Specialist (RS) program and First Born of Los Alamos’ Home Visitor program. 

Though the two programs overlap, each has a different focus and is available for separate age ranges; the RS program serves Los Alamos youth ages 5 to 18 and focuses on case management for the youth and their family. Meanwhile, First Born’s Home Visitors work with parents of children ages 0 to 5, and primarily focus on helping build parenting skills. 

“There’s long been a gap in services for families with kids ages 3 to 5,” said First Born Executive Director Ellen Specter. “[First Born] has since expanded to be able to do home visiting with that age, but often the case management part was a challenge.” 

LANL granted JJAB’s request, funding a 6 month collaboration pilot through Triad National Security, as part of Triad’s community commitment plan with focus of community nonprofit support. Though JJAB and First Born have had an informal connection for years, this pilot was a needed step in formalizing that connection. “There were referrals back and forth and even some joint clients, but there wasn’t a formal structure to hold it together,” said Specter, “And so sometimes the collaboration worked really well, and other times there were loose ends that weren’t put together because we didn’t have the structure around it.”

“LANL was very generous with the funding,” said JJAB Executive Director Rachel Mohr-Richards. “What it did essentially was fund two cases that we shared with First Born, and funded the time we were collaborating professionally and meeting with the families. Our hope was establishing how we want to work together and hopefully to build on that in the future.”

Six months later, the results are just as the two Executive Directors hoped they would be. The RS’s and Home Visitors established a system of biweekly collaboration meetings were they could reflect on successes and challenges with the families, and what each organization’s next steps would be. They also often met with the families together, which helped the families by eliminating a separate meeting for them to schedule and attend. 

“[It] became apparent pretty quickly that for these families with complex needs, one of the barriers to them getting services is all these appointments,” said Specter, “And being able to do joint visits, it quickly became apparent that ‘Oh, this is going to be the best way for us to have contact with the family.’”

Said Mohr-Richards, “Having done this we’ve identified that there’s a gap in case management services for young children. It encouraged us to look at how we can fill that gap. Regarding the families, it provided seamless provision of services. When you can allow each agency to focus on what they do best, that just benefits the family. Probably those outcomes are better for the family than what they would have been had we been working individually.”

Though the 6-month pilot and the attached funding have now ended, JJAB and First Born will continue to collaborate on the two existing cases, and now that there is a formal structure to follow, Specter and Mohr-Richards hope to expand to more families in the near future.

“I would like to say how much I appreciate LANL Community Partnerships Office moving in this direction and helping to support the local community,” said Specter. 

Mohr-Richards echoed that sentiment: “Absolutely, and encouraging collaboration between nonprofits. We all know that living in Los Alamos, there are a lot of nonprofits and they each have their own niche, but when we collaborate that only benefits our families.”

The First Born Program of Los Alamos is a free and voluntary home visiting program for all first time families in Los Alamos. The program is relationship‐centered and curriculum‐based. Families who participate receive support, information about pregnancy, early childhood development, health, nutrition and safety and learn fun activities to help build brain development and learning. Through weekly home visits, families identify personal goals, recognize challenges and opportunities for growth and build a healthy, loving, playful relationship with their child. For more information, please visit or email

Los Alamos JJAB is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of responsive and quality programs that have a positive impact on youth and their families. Our largest program is our Resource Specialist program, which pairs youth with a Resource Specialist who acts as the connective tissue between the youth and resources in our community. Like all of JJAB’s services, the Resource Specialist Program is free and confidential, and is available to youth between the ages of 5 and 18 who either live or attend school in Los Alamos County. For more information on this and JJAB’s other programs, please visit or email