“Dallas Rabig, state coordinator for infant and early childhood mental health, walked the group through the creation of an umbrella agency called First 5 Alabama.
It started with a grant that paid for hiring Rabig, who worked with the University of Alabama to create a model. Early intervention pilot sites were established in 2015, through home visits, Pre-K and daycare settings. Pediatricians were added this year.Rabig said First Five Alabama — a partnership of state agencies and nonprofits — “opened the door for discussion with Alabama Medicaid about possible billing practices and policy changes.” That led to more grants, used to build on their successes and participate in multi-state initiatives.
The Alabama legislature is putting $500,000 in the pot next year, and Rabig said they’re well-positioned to make use of Family First Title IV E funds.
[Representative] Dempsey said she hopes the study committee’s report helps state agencies and lawmakers determine a viable path forward.
“I was quite impressed with Alabama and what they’ve done in their five years … If Alabama and our other neighbors can do this, we can too,” she said.