Skip to Main Content
Partners Site > Investments  

On This Page

Dual Language Learner

In 2017, the First 5 California Commission approved funding to support a Dual Language Learner (DLL) Pilot that will examine culturally and linguistically responsive and effective teaching practices and strategies for the development of DLL children ages 0 to 5 in early learning settings. This effort is aimed to better support DLLs across California and to recommend scalable, implementable, and effective models and practices. First 5 California’s DLL Pilot will increase early educators’, families’, and the general public’s awareness about the benefits of bilingualism and home language through the participation of Pilot sites, the Talk. Read. Sing.® campaign, and First 5 California’s parent website. It also will share assessments of effective DLL practices and provide content for early childhood education preparation programs.

The anticipated investment for the First 5 California DLL Pilot is approximately $20 million over five years (FY 2016–17 through 2020–21), supplemented by local investments to leverage state funds. As of October 2017, First 5 California awarded the American Institutes for Research (AIR) the evaluation contractor for the DLL pilot.

For more information about the research team and study design, please see AIR’s website:

Additional background is available in the DLL Pilot Study Fact sheet and other documents below.

If you have questions related to the Dual Language Learner Pilot, please e-mail the DLL team at .

Dual Language Learner Documents

Additional Dual Language Learner Resources

Small Population County Funding Augmentation

First 5 California’s Small Population County Funding Augmentation (SPCFA) program provides funding to augment annual tax revenues to local First 5 Commissions in counties with small populations and low birth rates.

Originally initiated in Fiscal Year 1999-2000, the First 5 California Commission provided additional funding of up to $200,000 to small population counties to help ensure the implementation of Proposition 10 was truly a statewide effort. On January 26, 2017, the State Commission approved up to $8.625 million in additional funding over four years (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2021) for 20 small population county commissions with low birth rates and to ensure core operations and services are sustained for children and families residing in these communities

In order to participate in SPCFA, counties agree to terms outlined in a Local Area Agreement framework to implement successful local systems, measure outcomes and monitor progress, and demonstrate quality improvement in three focused investment areas:

  • Developmental and Health Needs
  • Engaging and Supporting Families
  • High-Quality Early Learning/Early Educator Support and Effectiveness

For more information, please see the link below regarding documents related to SPCFA funding, FAQs, reporting forms, and an evaluation tool kit. If you would like to submit a question or comment regarding the SPCFA, you can do so by sending an email to In the subject line, please reference the specific county and program corresponding to the inquiry (e.g., re: Mono County dental health program).

SPCFA Documents

Prior First 5 Program Investments and Evaluation Reports

Since 2000, First 5 California (F5CA) has invested over $492 million in improving the quality of early learning settings and supporting the quality of the early childhood workforce in California. Research shows high-quality early learning programs improve school readiness and lead to better long-term academic achievement. High-quality early education helps reduce unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse, high school dropout rates, and crime. In particular, teacher effectiveness, and quality of adult-child interactions, are among the most important factors impacting the quality of early learning programs.

In 2000, F5CA launched its first investment in improving the quality of early learning through the Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) Program. CARES was developed to support the retention and the professional development and education of the early childhood workforce. The program transitioned into CARES Plus in 2011 with an emphasis on training and support for effective teacher-child interactions. From 2011 through 2016, CARES Plus served 16,600 participants by providing incentives, support systems, training, and technical assistance for early childhood educators, improving their education and increasing participation in targeted professional development. Evaluation of CARES Plus showed: 1) participants highly valued the program; 2) counties participating in the program collaborated with local partners to improve access to training and education; and 3) evidence-based training and coaching improved the quality of teacher-child interaction as assessed by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®).

In 2005, F5CA launched another effort to support the quality of early learning through the Power of Preschool (PoP) Program. PoP supported high-quality preschool in areas with low performing schools and provided tiered financial incentives based on meeting quality factors. In 2012, the program transitioned into the Child Signature Program (CSP) and expanded to serve high-quality infant-toddler programs. CSP annually served approximately 24,000 children in 1,300 classrooms during 2012–2015. CSP provided enhanced supports integrating proven elements from other successful F5CA programs and drew on F5CA’s partnership with the Educare quality learning model. Evaluation of CSP showed participating classrooms were of high quality as assessed by Environment Rating Scales and CLASS®.

In 2015, the F5CA State Commission transitioned from specific investments in the Child and Teacher Signature Programs (CSP and CARES Plus) to broader systems support through a five-year $190 million investment in First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) (link to page). First 5 IMPACT supports the early learning workforce and quality improvements in early learning settings through quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). This effort expands partnerships and creates new opportunities with an enhanced focus on sustainability by engaging the entire early learning site in continuous quality improvement.