First 5 Sonoma County invests in Sonoma County’s youngest children by funding programs and services that promote, support, and improve the early development of children from the prenatal stage through age five.
Traditionally, our communities invest most heavily in children during their school years, yet brain research shows that children’s brains develop most dramatically in their first five years of life. At this early age, the foundation of a child’s life-long potential is established, so investing in these early years makes the biggest difference.
Children who start out in safe, nurturing environments grow up to be happier, healthier people. They become contributing members of our community. First 5 supports the health and well-being of children and their families to prepare children to succeed—at home, at school, in life.
First 5 is funded by Proposition 10 a statewide ballot initiative passed in 1998 that added fifty cents per pack to cigarettes and other tobacco products. The resulting revenues are allocated statewide to First 5 California (20%) and to a First 5 Children and Families Commission in every California county (based on birth rate).
The Sonoma County Children and Families Commission is the policy arm that directs local First 5 activities. With broad community participation, the Commission has created a Strategic Plan that outlines the needs of young children and their families in the county, the Commission’s goals, and its priority outcomes. The plan is updated every five years.
The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation. Stated simply, today’s children will become tomorrow’s citizens, workers, and parents. When we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. When we fail to provide children with what they need to build a strong foundation for healthy and productive lives, we put our future prosperity and security at risk.
The Science of Early Childhood Development (2007)
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Areas of Investment
In its Strategic Plan, First 5 Sonoma County established School Readiness as its overarching outcome and identified six priority outcomes that support School Readiness. Together, these desired outcomes guide First 5’s investments in programs and system change.
- Increase the availability of high quality, accessible heath care for children
- Increase early detection of, and intervention for, developmental concerns
- Increase support for parents to strengthen their parenting capacity
- Increase support for parents to strengthen their family’s literacy skills
- Increase the availability of high quality early care and education
- Increase the capacity of early care and education providers to link their client families to appropriate health, mental health, substance abuse, and developmental services
At First 5 Sonoma County, we believe that what is best for our youngest children is best for everyone. We invest more than $4 million annually on the health, safety, and school readiness of Sonoma County’s youngest citizens.
Can you imagine a Sonoma County where all the choices we make are also good for our community’s children? Wouldn’t that be a better place for all of us?