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Focus Areas

All California’s children deserve high-quality early learning opportunities. First 5 California’s investments in early learning and care increase the effectiveness of the programs and help children ages 0 to 5 and their families thrive.
Warm and responsive interactions between adults and young children are key to children’s optimum development and learning. First 5 California investments increase teacher and provider qualifications and skills to support improved effectiveness.
Families are their children’s first and most important teachers, especially with regard to the critical brain development that occurs during those first few months and years. First 5 California’s investments promote strong families and thriving relationships through the Talk. Read. Sing.® campaign.
Prenatal and early childhood exposure to nicotine and second-hand smoke have long-lasting adverse effects on health and brain development. First 5 California’s resources help support parents and caregivers to quit smoking.
Public education and outreach is one of the primary functions of the California Children and Families Commission. Three of the primary public education and outreach efforts of First 5 California currently underway are its Talk. Read. Sing.® campaign, First 5 California’s flagship Kit for New Parents, and the First 5 Express.
First 5 California advocates for the strong start all children deserve, with an emphasis on children prenatal through age 5 and their families, to optimize early childhood development and reduce childhood poverty.

Why We Do It

Brain development is stimulated by regular and ongoing language interaction and engagement with caring adults during the earliest days, months, and years of a child’s life.
Effects of economic and social inequalities are evident in young children’s development as early as 18 months of age and widen throughout early childhood. These opportunity gaps can lead to an achievement gap in a child’s school.

Children who are bilingual and retain their home language while simultaneously learning a second language have a cognitive and social advantage. First 5 California is a champion for high-quality dual language learner practices in early childhood and the benefits of becoming bilingual.
Expanding access to high-quality early childhood programs, from home visiting to early learning and care, is among the smartest investments Californians can make.

Working together in systematic and strategic ways across agencies and communities, from the local, state, and federal levels, is fundamental to improving outcomes for children and families.

Where We Work

First 5 Los Angeles Highlights

First 5 Los Angeles County had more than 100 service accomplishments during Fiscal Year 2019–20. First 5 Los Angeles’ funding of First Connections at Eisner Health, for example, helped a mother and her two-year-old son; the mother had expressed concern at her previous clinic that her young son was experiencing a delay in his speaking. Read More

First 5 San Francisco Highlights

For nearly two decades, First 5 San Francisco County has invested in San Francisco’s youngest children, their families, and the providers who work on their behalf, with a vision that all children will start school eager to learn and grow with confidence. Read More

What We Know

A new study confirms California’s innovative transitional kindergarten (TK) program benefits all students entering kindergarten. Along with stronger mathematics and literacy skills, the study shows students are more engaged in their learning than students who do not attend TK.

Families with Young Children in California

Findings from the California Health Interview Survey

Using data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), this report presents findings on families with children ages 0-5 years. It breaks down differences between urban, suburban, and rural families, and it highlights the characteristics of families who speak a language other than English in the home. As more than half of families with young children in California speak a language other than English in the home, the characteristics of dual language households are highlighted

Educare Model

Implementation Study

Educare's comprehensive program incorporates everything science says young children need to flourish. Through continuous evaluations and research, we have the proof that Educare is working to help improve outcomes for children and their families.