Child Saving Account Program


En Español / Spanish Version

First 5 Futures is a First 5 Sonoma County program that provides a FREE College Saving Account to eligible children age 2 up to their 5th birthday. 

First 5 Sonoma County will make an initial deposit of $200 for every eligible child. Families participating in this program have the opportunity to receive up to an additional $300 in incentives.

Using grant funds from the California Student Aid Commission, First 5 Sonoma County will allocate up to $500 to every First 5 Futures Program account. The amount will be invested on behalf of the child (beneficiary). The funds will be available for withdrawal after the beneficiary graduates from a high school and enrolls in a college or career education program. Through the First 5 Futures program, families are also encouraged to open individual accounts for their children so they can contribute and save for their future.

Frequently Asked Questions

First 5 Sonoma County’s First 5 Futures Program envisions that every child age 2 up to their 5th birthday (beneficiary) will have two savings accounts. First 5 Sonoma County will setup the first account for the child with ScholarShare529. ScholarShare is a 529 college savings plan for the State of California. First 5 Sonoma County will use this account platform to invest $200 in an investment plan for every child who is participating in a First 5 funded program offered at a Family Resource Center with the opportunity for additional incentives after completing a qualifying program.

The second account can be established directly by a parent or guardian of the child. First 5 Sonoma County has partnered with Family Resource Centers across Sonoma County to assist families in setting up individual college savings accounts.

Parents or guardians will be able to access account balances on both accounts through Outcome Tracker, a designated program management system.

Benefit: Currently, First 5 Sonoma County is providing $200 in seed funding to every 2 to 5 year old participating in a First 5 funded program at an FRC. This amount is invested in an age-appropriate portfolio based on the expected college enrollment year. The program beneficiary will not have access to these funds before graduating from high school. The market value of the invested amount will be available to the beneficiary at the time of graduation from high school and will be sent directly to the college or career preparation programs to offset the student’s expenses.

Incentives: Parents that seek services through any of the three FRCs will have the opportunity to earn up to two program incentive deposits of $50 for participation/graduation from an eligible program, for up to three of their children within the eligible age range.

First 5 Match Incentive – parent/caregivers who open their parent-owned ScholarShare529 account will be matched dollar-for-dollar as a deposit from First 5 Sonoma, once a monthly savings deposit of a minimum of $5 per month for at least six consecutive months has been established. First 5 will match family deposits into their ScholarShare 529 account up to a total of $200 per child, up until the child’s fifth birthday.

  • Children must be ages 2 to 5 years old
  • Sonoma County resident 
  • Household Adjusted Gross Income of $75,000 or less (no verification required)

It’s easy! Simply fill the First 5 Futures Program Registration Form.

Portal information coming soon!

Research shows that children from families who save between $1-$499 for education are 3x more likely to attend college and 4x more likely to graduate, compared with those with no college savings.

When you save and invest now, the money you save can grow and be worth much more.

A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to help families to save for a beneficiary’s (typically one’s child or grandchild) future higher education expenses.

Scholarshare is the California State 529 plan, a tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary.

If the account beneficiary does not attend college, the account owner may change the beneficiary to another eligible family member. See definition of eligible family member. If funds are withdrawn for a purpose other than qualified higher education expenses, or they are treated as withdrawn due to the naming of an ineligible beneficiary, the amount will be subject to a 10% federal tax on the earnings in addition to federal and state taxes. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to a 2.5% California tax on earnings.

It’s easy. Most families enroll online at ScholarShare529.com. Paper applications are also available if families prefer.

What you will need:

  • The date of birth and Social Security or federal taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for the beneficiary and account owner.
  • The date of birth for the beneficiary account owner, should you choose to designate one.
  • Select an investment portfolio that matches your investment saving objectives.
  • If you are enrolling in a recurring contribution program, you will need the account and bank routing number from your checking account.