First 5 works to create sustainable systems change in Sonoma County. Sustainable systems changes that endure beyond the funded project can lead to improved lives for children and families through increased access to services, improved quality of services, enhanced efficiency of services, and increased consumer/community empowerment.
Systems change refers to “changes in organizational culture, policies, and procedures within and across organizations that enhance or streamline access, and reduce or eliminate barriers to needed services by target populations.” (Linkins & Brya)
To create sustainable systems change, First 5 Sonoma County aims to engage and support three primary stakeholder groups:
- Partners: First 5 Sonoma County grantees and other community partners
- Service recipients: Children 0-5, families, and providers receiving grantee service
- Community leaders and policymakers: Drivers of change in the community
This systems change framework assumes that by building partners’ capacity to provide accessible and high-quality services, and by engaging community leaders to support such services, children and families will experience better outcomes.
The following pages highlight the major achievements of First 5 Sonoma County from FY 2013-14 through FY 2015-16 in its efforts to strengthen systems and programs supporting children and families. Each page is organized by Strategic Plan goal area, illustrating the ways in which First 5 has helped to ensure:
- Children’s health and healthy development
- Families are supported and nurturing
- Early childhood education is of the highest quality
The structure of each section mirrors the design of the First 5 Sonoma County’s systems change evaluation framework (Figure above). For each Strategic Plan goal area, LFA examines the extent to which First 5 has (1) built partners’ capacity to provide services that support positive outcomes, and (2) contributed to improved outcomes for children, families, and providers. Each goal area includes a summary of First 5’s most impactful work under these two approaches. The final section of this summary explores the extent to which First 5 has engaged the community to support First 5-identified services and priorities.