When I came aboard as First 5 California's Executive Director in December of 2012, I set a goal of visiting all 58 California counties to see firsthand the services the First 5 county commissions have in place, learn about the highlights and challenges they face locally, and learn more about how we in Sacramento can support them. After traveling to 41 of them, I'm reminded of just how large and diverse our state is, and how individual county needs vary across the state. But one thing is the same statewide—families, and especially children—are benefitting greatly from the work of First 5, which is to promote, support, and optimize early childhood development. It has been inspirational, educational, and great fun to spend time with children, parents, and First 5 staff in all corners of the state. From mobile dental clinics, developmental screenings, parent engagement, and quality early learning programs, First 5 is making a difference.

In addition to the critical work of our county commissions, our other resources—many accessible on this website—help make a daily difference in the lives of families. Our newly released Strategic Plan gives us the road map to carry us forward in our mission to convene, partner in, support, and help lead the movement to create and implement a comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated system for California's children prenatal through 5 and their families. Our vision is that all of California's children receive the best possible start in life and thrive. To that end, we will continue to build powerful partnerships and support existing ones—the most important of which is the partnership between parent and child.

We face many challenges as parents. At First 5 California, we offer countless ideas to help little ones thrive, from nutritious meals you and your child can make together, to what to do when your child gets sick, to tips for making road trips easier. Need support for dealing with a special needs child or advice for making a dental visit go smoothly? Visit our online Health Center. Want to learn how you can impact your child's brain development from day one? Visit our online Learning Center. Our parents' website (www.First5California.com/parents) is your gateway to all these great resources. You also can follow us on Twitter (@First5CA) and find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/first5california). We're here for you 24/7.

May the work we do
Make the world we live in
A little more worthy of our children.

~ Tom Hunter