• 2017 Strategic Plan Update 740x250

2017 Updates to Strategics Goals and Priority Outcomes

Updated Priority Outcomes:

  • Priority Outcome 1C & Strategy 1C1
  • Priority Outcome 1D & Strategy 1D1
  • Priority Outcome 4H & Strategy 4H1
  • Strategy 5C4

OVERARCHING Goal: School Readiness - Children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. (School Readiness is a proxy measure for optimal child development)

GOAL 1: Ensure the Health and Healthy Development of Children

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Priority Outcome 1A: Increase the availability of high quality, accessible health care for children

Strategy 1A1: Continue to support and ensure children’s health coverage

Comprehensive outreach campaigns that find and assist families with enrolling children into programs for which they are eligible.

Priority Outcome 1B: Increase early detection of, and intervention for, developmental concerns

Strategy 1B1: Develop a sustainable system to support universal developmental screening and intervention

Develop a system that includes developmental and social-emotional screening of children, follow-up assessments, and early interventions that maximize children’s development, address situational delays and eliminate, when possible, the need for entry into the special education system. Leverage the Help Me Grow national model and statewide network. Identify strategies for sustainable funding.

Priority Outcome 1C: Increase prevention, early detection, and access to treatment for pediatric dental disease

Strategy 1C1: Partner with key dental health partners to coordinate and scale successful efforts that provide dental assessments, parent education, fluoride varnish, and care coordination for needed treatment of children 0-5.

Priority Outcome 1D: Increase access to screening and early intervention for perinatal mood disorders

Strategy 1D1: Partner with key maternal health, home visiting, and early childhood mental health system stakeholders and providers to identify women with perinatal mood disorder and connect them to services.

GOAL 2: Ensure Families Are Supported and Nurturing

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Priority Outcome 2A: Increase support for parents to strengthen their parenting capacity

Strategy 2A1: Implement the Nurse-Family Partnership Home Visiting model

In the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program, nurse home visitors work intensively with first-time, low-income mothers for approximately 2 1/2 years—from pregnancy through their child’s second birthday—to transform their lives and the lives of their children. The program has been proven to improve parents’ ability to care for themselves and their infants and toddlers, thereby preventing child maltreatment and childhood injuries, unintended subsequent pregnancies, school dropout, unemployment, and welfare dependence.

Strategy 2A2: Implement the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program

Triple P is a multi-level, parenting and family support strategy that aims to prevent severe behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents. This flexible, tiered multi-level strategy recognizes that parents have differing needs and desires regarding type, intensity, and mode of assistance. The Triple P system is designed to maximize efficiency, contain costs, and ensure the program has wide reach in the community. 

Priority Outcome 2B: Increase support for parents to strengthen their family’s literacy skills

Strategy 2B1: Implement the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program Model

The AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program provides education and support to Latino parents with children under age three. It is
founded on the belief that a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, so it is important to train parents to have the skills to support optimal child development, literacy, and school readiness. The nine-month core program operates in housing projects, community centers, and schools. AVANCE instructors guide parents through their children’s stages of emotional, physical, social, and cognitive development with special attention to the importance of reading, nutrition and effective discipline.

GOAL 3: Ensure that Early Care and Education (ECE) is High Quality

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Priority Outcome 3A: Increase the availability of high quality early care and education

Strategy 3A1: Implement Quality Counts, a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) in Sonoma County

Quality Counts is a system to assess, improve and communicate the quality of early care and education environments. Quality assessments of early care environments, teaching interactions and program services that promote health and development will determine placement on the tiered matrix, with the highest quality programs being rated a five. Providers work with coaches to create quality improvement plans, receive ongoing program support, and have access to professional development training opportunities and incentives in order to increase program quality and an opportunity to move up the quality matrix.

Strategy 3A2: Provide preschool scholarships to low-income families to use at accredited early care and education sites

First 5 Sonoma County will make scholarships to high quality preschool (as indicated by accreditation) available to families who qualify based on income eligibility and ability to assure their three or four year-olds’ attendance at a qualified site with an available slot. 

Strategy 3A3: Implement a local version of Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Education Standards (CARES)

CARES (Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards) is designed to reward and encourage early care and education (ECE) professionals to continue professional development through education and training in order to raise the quality of child care in Sonoma County. First 5 makes financial incentives available to ECE providers who demonstrate progress toward a research-based academic standard of quality—e.g. a bachelor’s degree.

Strategy 3A4: Implement a targeted Teachers Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge (TALLK) program

The TALLK (Teachers Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge) project provides preschool teachers with training and coaching in
specific strategies for interacting with English Learner (EL) children—especially those whose home language is Spanish—to
best support their language acquisition.

Strategy 3A5: Implement the Gateway to Quality program for ECE providers to have access to quality improvement assessment services and access to mini grants to improve the quality of ECE environments

First 5 Sonoma County’s Mini-Grant Program provides small grants of up to $5,000 to non-profit organizations, private businesses, community groups, local governments, and individuals to conduct activities that support the healthy development of children 0-5 and strengthen the ability of families and communities to provide safe and nurturing environments for children. 

Priority Outcome 3B: Increase the capacity of early care and education providers to link their client families to appropriate
health, mental health, substance abuse, and developmental services

Strategy 3B1: Continue to implement the Consultant Project

The Consultation Project (TCP) provides free, individually tailored technical assistance to childcare providers and preschool
teachers seeking help to manage difficult behaviors and temperaments of children in their care. Providers seeking
assistance contact the project, and early childhood mental health and education specialists work with them to strengthen their
understanding, willingness to persevere, and ability to intervene effectively with a challenging child. 

GOAL 4: Increase integration of Systems and Effect Policy Change to Fill Gaps and Better Serve Children and Families

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Priority Outcome 4A: Increase implementation of successful strategies to reduce iron deficiency anemia through collaboration with community partners

Strategy 4A1: Monitor implementation and impact of emerging efforts to prevent iron deficiency anemia in children

In 2008, 18.4% of children under five in Sonoma County had iron deficiency anemia—one of the highest rates in California. The local rate is highest for 12-17 month olds—19.9%. In Sonoma County, one out of every two newborns is eligible for the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. Program changes occurring now at WIC will introduce meat as infants’ first solid food. It is anticipated that the effect on iron-deficiency anemia will be substantial. Nutritional guidance is also a significant element in the Nurse-Family Partnership home visiting program, which will reach first-time, low-income mothers, as well as the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program. First 5 staff will monitor the impact of these and other associated efforts and identify areas where First 5 could add value and/ or address gaps. 

Priority Outcome 4B: Increase the community’s capacity to address children’s oral health needs through collaboration with community partners

Strategy 4B1: Monitor implementation and impact of the WIC pilot project on children’s oral health and seek opportunities to bring this effort to scale

First 5 Sonoma County has partnered with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Dental Health Foundation to implement a pilot project to provide dental assessments, parent education, fluoride varnish, and care coordination for needed treatment of children enrolled in county WIC programs. First 5 staff will monitor the impact of this effort and apply lessons learned from the pilot project to expand to other WIC clients.

Priority Outcome 4C: Reduce child abuse and neglect and promote early childhood mental health through collaboration with community partners to identify, implement, and sustain high quality intervention and support for families with substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence issues.

Strategy 4C2: Partner with Mental Health Services Act-Prevention and Early Intervention 0-5 Efforts and with Maternal Child and Adolescent Health to identify women with perinatal mood disorder and connect them with services

First 5 Sonoma County staff will work collaboratively with MHSA-PEI and community partners to facilitate trainings, data collection, and reporting and advocate for policies that increase perinatal mood disorder treatment capacity. 

Strategy 4C3: Partner with Child Welfare Services and other agencies serving highest-risk families to implement Triple P-Positive Parenting Program and other early childhood mental health supports

First 5 Sonoma County will improve early childhood socialemotional health by facilitating systems change in agencies working with Sonoma County’s highest-risk families. Specifically, First 5 will support these agencies to integrate the Triple P-- Positive Parenting Program and other selected evidence-based practices into their services and programs for high-risk families.

Strategy 4C4: Work with community partners to develop a trauma informed community by raising awareness of the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) on a child’s developing brain and body that has long lasting effects throughout a lifetime

First 5 will work with community partners in order to (1) build awareness of ACEs (2) effect policy changes in all family serving systems that are trauma informed, and (3) enhance community capacity to screen and treat for ACEs.

Priority Outcome 4D: Increase family economic self-sufficiency and reduce the impacts of poverty on children 0-5 through collaboration with community partners.

Strategy 4D1: Connect families to resources, such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), CalFresh, financial counseling, and other assistance programs

Guidance about nutrition, community resource, and employment are significant elements in the NFP home visiting program, which will reach first-time, low-income mothers, and in the AVANCE Parent-Child Education program for low-educational level, Spanish-speaking parents of children birth-3. 

Strategy 4D2: Support and encourage family economic self-sufficiency by funding the evidence-based programs AVANCE and NFP

Specific outcomes achieved in a 15-year follow-up for participants in the Nurse-Family Partnership include increases in
father involvement and mother’s employment, both indicators of increased family economic self-sufficiency. Similarly, outcomes for
AVANCE program participants include increased maternal participation in the workforce, decreased reliance on public
benefits, and increased maternal income.

Priority Outcome 4E: Collaborate with early care education and K-3 systems to:

  • Increase parents’ engagement as partners in education and increase families’ connection to related resources
  • Increase alignment and articulation between early care education and K-3
  • Identify and increase institutionalization of successful school readiness strategies and programs

Strategy 4E1: Collaborate with schools and local communities to establish effective school readiness programs and services

First 5 staff will work to enhance existing partnerships with school systems and identify opportunities. Sharing evaluation data and providing small competitive grants and incentives has proven to be a successful strategy in rooting these programs in school systems. We will be alert for opportunities to leverage future funding from First 5 California and other funders in this arena. First 5 will assist in the development of data sharing agreements with school districts in order to measure the effects of early education services on later academic achievement and providing local data that could support continued investment in early care and education services. First 5 will provide initial funding for facility grants that can leverage additional sources of sustainable funds in the community by using state, federal, Title I, LCAP and private funding for preschool or school readiness services to serve children 3 to 4 years old. 

Priority Outcome 4F: Increase alignment of systems of academic advancement for early care and education providers in Sonoma County through collaboration with community partners

Strategy 4F1: Convene Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University to establish an articulated system of academic offerings for early care and education providers

SSU offers an Early Childhood Education minor to provide the prerequisite courses for the Elementary Education Teaching Credential program and accepts SRJC child development units as electives toward this ECE minor. The ECE minor core courses are also approved courses for the Child Development Permit. With this foundation in place, First 5 staff will convene appropriate SRJC and SSU representatives to assess the feasibility of offering a bachelor’s degree in child development, and if appropriate, coordinate developing a plan to establish such a degree.

Priority Outcome 4G: Advocate for programs and policies that increase children’s ability to develop to their fullest potential

Strategy 4G1: Collaborate with other First 5 Commissions to advance programs and policies that support children and families

First 5 Sonoma County will continue to be an active participant in the First 5 Association of California. The Association works to improve the lives of California’s youngest children and their families through an effective, coordinated, and inclusive implementation of the California Children and Families Act at the local and state levels.

Strategy 4G2: Collaborate with local child-serving agencies to advocate for policy changes to better serve and support children and families

The current state of the economy has resulted in the contracting of state and county budgets with dire consequences for programs and services for children and families. First 5 Sonoma County will actively work with other child- and family-serving agencies to advocate for policies and resources that not only maintain, but also improve, effective services for Sonoma County’s children and families. 

Priority Outcome 4H: Strengthen the organizational operating capacity of child and family serving community-based provider agencies to sustain high quality programs and support critical systems through capacity building activities and grants

Strategy 4H1: Develop and implement a three-year learning community cohort that will strengthen operational processes and systems
within eight community-based organizations that provide critical services and support for children 0-5 and their families.

First 5 will develop a capacity-building program in collaboration with other local funders to strengthen the overall sustainability of 0-5
serving community-based organizations. Organizations will be supported through an independent consultant who will guide
leaders through a process of collectively identifying and concretely addressing barriers to sustainability. The program will include grants
for general operating support for participating organizations who meet specific criteria.

GOAL 5: Engage the Entire Community to Support Achievement of First 5 Sonoma County Goals

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Priority Outcome 5A: Increase parent and community awareness about:

  • The needs of children 0-5 and their parents and caregivers
  • Activities to support the optimal development of children 0-5
  • First 5 Sonoma County and the services/programs provided by its grantees and community partners

Strategy 5A1: Distribute Kits for New Parents and Parent Guides broadly. Update both products as needed.

The Kit for New Parents (KNP) is a comprehensive set of resources filled with advice and useful tips for first-time parents
provided by First 5 California. First 5 Sonoma County augments the KNP with a Parent’s Guide for Sonoma County and more
helpful tools for parenting.

Strategy 5A2: Collaborate with United Way to enhance the 2-1-1 information line

Staff will work with United Way and 2-1-1 staff to assure that the help line includes valuable resources available to parents of children from the prenatal stage through age five and to support efforts to offer all 2-1-1 services in Spanish.

Strategy 5A3: Expand and maintain the First 5 Sonoma County website and social media presence

Staff maintains the First 5 website to inform our community about First 5, its programs, and opportunities for funding. The website offers information and resources for parents and providers that enhance their understanding of child development and the needs of young children, and promote parent engagement in all aspects of children’s lives from the prenatal stage through age five 

Strategy 5A4: Promote and support effective parent engagement programs

Parents are effectively engaged when they act as their child’s first and most important teacher and primary advocate throughout
their child’s development. First 5 will support parents through multiple programs targeting specific health and development
issues, as well as via programs that encourage parents to develop peer support networks, build resiliency and connect to
community resources.

Priority Outcome 5B: Engage in social marketing to increase behaviors that support optimal child development

Strategy 5B1: Conduct social marketing campaigns

First 5 staff and consultants work with community partners to promote behavior change through increased understanding of
child development and the needs of young children. Our social marketing campaigns are designed to help prevent child abuse,
improve children’s readiness for school, promote early childhood mental health, and raise the level of concern among community
decision makers about the effect their decisions have on children.

Strategy 5B2: Collaborate with community partners to create a united voice for children

Collaborate with public and private agencies, community-based organizations, and businesses working to achieve common goals on behalf of children—in particular to align efforts, to effect positive social and policy change, and to provide a united voice for children in Sonoma County.

Priority Outcome 5C: Engage the entire community to implement projects that support First 5 Sonoma County goals by providing loans and grants

Strategy 5C4: Responsive Grants Program

Beginning July 1, 2018, the Matching Grant program will be integrated with the Flexibility Fund to combine and maximize both grant making strategies: 1) to respond to emergent needs and improve the development and support of young children and their families in Sonoma County; and, 2) promote sustainability through the leveraging of funds from other sources. Funds allocated under the Responsive Grants Fund will continue to be dedicated to projects and programs that address the Priority Outcomes of the Commission’s Strategic Plan, including projects that improve organizational or system effectiveness to the direct benefit of children and families. Funds may also be utilized to address unexpected, emergent and urgent needs that may not be reflected in the strategic plan.

Priority Outcome 5D: Inform and engage the private sector to understand and value the high return on investments in early childhood

Strategy 5D1: Encourage advocacy and investments from the private sector

First 5 Sonoma County educates and informs the private sector about the economic benefits of investing in early childhood and about successful models of public/private-sector partnerships in the early childhood development arena. First 5 communicates this information to business leaders through chambers of commerce, service clubs, and other business associations and provides them with options to advocate for and make investments in early childhood.

Strategy 5D2: Encourage business partners in social marketing efforts

First 5 Sonoma County’s social marketing campaigns provide opportunities to engage the private sector to support the goals and priority outcomes of this Strategic Plan. First 5 staff conducts outreach to business and the private sector to identify ways to partner in disseminating First 5’s social marketing messages