This newsletter comes to you from First 5 California, the California Children and Families Commission, which provides services and support to ensure that children in California are born healthy and reach their full potential.
eNewsline provides updates about the Child, Parent and Teacher Signature Programs, and more. Please send any feedback to Susan Hyman.
New chief counsel for First 5 California
Reneé Webster-Hawkins is the new chief counsel for First 5 California, replacing Kim Gauthier, who has returned to the Secretary of State’s office. Webster-Hawkins is a public interest attorney with broad experience in advising state agencies on legal and policy matters.
She has been in-house counsel to the California Energy Commission, the state Department of Community Services and Development and the state Department of Fish and Game. She also served as chief deputy director of the Department of Community Services and Development. She graduated as a Public Service Fellow from Stanford Law School, and as a Regents Scholar from the University of California, Davis. She hails from a family that has lived, worked and farmed in Northern California since the 1850s. She is honored to continue the lineage by raising her son in the family-friendly Sacramento community.
“I am very excited to join First 5 California and roll up my sleeves to help the state and county commissions design and implement the very best programs for California’s children to thrive,” she says.
Moira Kenney named executive director of First 5 Association
Moira Kenney was appointed executive director of the First 5 Association of California recently. Serving as interim executive director after the departure of Sherry Novick a few months ago, Kenney had been statewide program director since 2005. Prior to that, she was executive director of First 5 San Francisco. She holds a Ph.D. in urban planning from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Association President Harry Freedman of First 5 Riverside stated that among a large pool of very qualified candidates, “Moira emerged as the clear and unanimous choice.”
“I look forward to working with the commissions, our partners, and our families to ensure that Proposition 10 continues to provide the very best solutions to the challenges we face,” she says.
Jennifer Kent, Chair
Patrick Duterte, Vice Chair
Ex officio: Diana Dooley
Click here for bios.
July 18 - Commission Meeting (Sacramento)
Oct. 17 - Commission Meeting (Southern California)
Mark your calendars to attend the next California Children and Families Commission meeting on July 18!
Governor’s budget revise includes $450 million in child development program cuts and $80 million transfer of Proposition 10 funds
Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan for the fiscal year 2012-13 seeks to address a $15.7 billion General Fund deficit with deep cuts to programs, costly funding shifts and new revenue sources. Many of the proposed $4 billion in cuts will devastate programs for California’s youngest children and their families. The new revenues assume the passage of the Governor’s temporary sales and income tax measure on the November ballot. If that measure fails, deeper cuts will result.
Major cuts to child development programs total about $450 million, affecting the ability of infants, toddlers and preschoolers across the state to access the quality learning opportunities needed to ensure that they enter school ready to learn. More than 193,000 children are waiting for early learning opportunities in California today, yet the budget proposal cuts 29,600 existing child care slots.
Young children who are not exposed to proper amounts of stimulation – such as touch, bonding with adults, color and sounds – actually have smaller brains. Developmental disparities begin as early as 9 months. According to Nobel-Prize winning economist James Heckman, gaps that emerge early are difficult to address later.
The budget also proposes that $80 million be redirected from the California Children and Families Trust Fund – which First 5 California administers – to cover General Fund reductions. This transfer includes $40 million to offset Medi-Cal Services for children age 0 to 5, and another $40 million to support Early Start programs under the state Department of Developmental Services.
Two Requests for Application released for Child Signature Program
First 5 county commissions recently received two Requests for Application (RFAs) from First 5 California for participation in the Child Signature Program.
In October 2011, the First 5 California Commission approved the development of the Child Signature Program, which included producing and distributing a total of three RFAs to counties.
Briefly, the Child Signature Program does the following:
- Builds on past and current First 5 California program investments, including the Power of Preschool (PoP), to provide continuity of these local preschool programs for children and families currently being served.
- Draws from the Educare model with the focus on implementation of its core features.
- Is accessible to more than the eight counties currently implementing PoP.
- Increases the rigor of program requirements to ensure a movement toward higher levels of quality.
- Has a multi-leveled approach, coupled with targeted training and support, designed to meet county center programs “where they are.”
Program for early learning workforce nears completion of first year
First 5 California’s Teacher Signature Program supports the development of the early learning work force. Called CARES (Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards) Plus, the program is reaching the end of its first year (Year 1). Planning for the second year (Year 2), which starts July 1, has already taken place.
There were more than 5,000 participants in CARES Plus in Year 1. A core requirement of CARES Plus is the completion of three online courses: Intro to the CLASS, Looking at CLASSrooms (LAC), and tobacco training that focuses on the adverse effects of second-hand smoking on young children.
Parent website launched this month to reach about 1.5 million parents of young children
Being a parent is tough, but help is only a click away. First 5 California’s enhanced parent website, part of the Parent Signature Program, went live in May. The site features tips, information and resources – all geared to the approximately 1.5 million parents of children ages 0 to 5 in California.
For example, the site’s Health Center covers nutrition, physical activity, oral health, checkups and more. Under the Learning Center, topics such as brain and language development, reading, quality preschool and child care can be explored. The Activity Center has age-appropriate learning activities for parents to do with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Services and Support includes further information and links on the Kit for New Parents, health insurance, food assistance, smoking cessation, safety and infant/child care.