Child Signature Program (CSP)

The cornerstone of the Child Signature Program (CSP) is to increase quality in early learning programs for children 0 to 5. Studies conclude high-quality early learning programs improve school readiness and lead to better long-term academic achievement. Further, research shows high-quality early education helps reduce unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse, high school dropout rates, and crime.

The design of CSP integrates proven elements from other successful First 5 California programs and draws on First 5 California's partnership with the Educare quality learning model. Its goals target children, families, and teachers.

In October 2011, the First 5 California Children and Families Commission approved funding of up to $45 million per fiscal year for the CSP, from July1, 2012 through June 30, 2015. In January 2015, the Commission approved a one-year extension of CSP 1 and 3 from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. Funding was approved for CSP participant counties at a 50 percent reduction of the original funding to allow CSP 1 and 3 counties to transition their programs into First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive). CSP 2 funding was not extended and ended on June 30, 2015.

CSP 1 and 3 Extension counties continue to implement Quality Enhancement elements and align their programs to a local Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). Some counties elected to fully fund CSP with local funds, while others reduced the size of programs or services for the transition year into First 5 IMPACT.


CSP 1 enhances overall quality in all CSP 1 sites and classrooms, and further increases quality in selected sites and classrooms through the implementation of Quality Enhancements in three research-based Program Elements:

  • Instructional Strategies and Teacher-Child Interactions
  • Social-Emotional Development
  • Parent Involvement and Support


CSP 3 was designed for counties participating in CSP 2 to apply for two years of Quality Enhancement funding from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015. Classrooms met Teacher/Provider Qualifications at the First 5 Quality Level and CSP Baseline Criteria. The content of RFA #3 was similar to that of RFA #1 in terms of implementation of Quality Enhancements for qualifying classrooms.

CSP Fact Sheet and 201314 Evaluation

Additional information about CSP is provided in the CSP Fact Sheet and in the Evaluation of the Child Signature Program: 201314 School Year .

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a question or comment regarding the CSP, you can do so by sending an e-mail to In the subject line, reference the specific program corresponding to the inquiry.