Understanding a Changing Landscape
In 1998, California voters passed the California Children and Families Act (Proposition 10) designed with the specific intent to create and implement an integrated, comprehensive, and collaborative system of information and services to promote optimal early childhood development and to ensure that young children enter school ready to succeed. The Act emphasizes local flexibility for investing in service delivery systems that promote accessibility and quality. As per the requirements of the Act, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors established a nine-member First 5 Commission, which is required to periodically develop a strategic plan with measurable outcomes to guide community investments and to update existing plans as community conditions and needs change.
During the first eleven years of the Act’s implementation, First 5 Sonoma County has received over $55 million in Proposition 10 revenues. Thoughtful strategic and long-term financial planning by prior Commissioners and stakeholders guided investments intended to support the healthy development children prenatal to age five. These investments have been key drivers for building local systems through support services, education, and advocacy.
History of First 5 Sonoma County's Strategic Plan
When developing its 2010-2020 Strategic Plan, the First 5 Sonoma County Commission identified guidelines and goals to help refine its investment approach with the intention of maximizing return on investments. Using extensive data, research and community input to inform planning, the Commission identified four goals and one overarching goal to frame First 5’s work in the community. These goals leverage and build upon the resources of cross-sector organizations, including community clinics and hospitals, state and federally funded early education programs, public health and child welfare services and community-based organizations.
Moving toward 2020, the strategic goals continue to frame priorities for First 5 Sonoma County. First 5 continues to build upon the work of almost two decades to ensure healthy development and school readiness, improve parent engagement and parenting capacity, cultivate early learning champions, and enhance the systems that serve young children and their families.
Declining Proposition 10 Revenue
California’s Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenue has steadily declined due to multiple factors, including reduced smoking rates due to successful public health efforts and additional taxes on tobacco that effect consumer behavior. By 2020, Prop. 10 will generate only $100 per child in California, down from revenue of $200 per child in 2010. First 5 California projects that Sonoma County will receive less than $3 million dollars annually in tobacco tax revenue by the year 2021.
Expenditures and Funding Fiscal Year 14-15 through Fiscal Year 20-21
Going forward, our challenge is to sustain impact during a time of diminishing and uncertain resources. Responding to the challenge, First 5 Sonoma County initiated a strategic planning process in December 2016 to update the existing 2010-2020 Strategic Plan to include guidance for stepping down investments in a strategic manner. The voices and expertise of community partners was particularly critical to collectively determine how to maximize future revenue and support efforts to sustain integrated system of care for children prenatal to five.