Program & Systems

Integration

At First 5 Ventura County, we recognize that we can accomplish more, reach a greater number of families, and improve outcomes when we work in partnership.

Throughout our history, we have partnered with parents, schools, communities, businesses, and social and healthcare agencies. Increasingly, we have developed partnerships across the country to implement best practices that are improving outcomes for young children. 

Advocating for Greater Investment in Early Childhood


In partnership with the First 5 Association, F5VC advocates to increase funding for early childhood health and development. While Governor Newsom maintains an ongoing commitment to prioritizing resources and support systems for young children and their families, we will continue to actively engage local elected officials in our programs to support the needs of young children and advocate for legislation to improve the early childhood system. 

F5VC advocated for funding Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH). We worked with local organizations and early childhood coalitions to request general fund appropriations for IECMH services to prevent and mitigate mental health concerns, promote healthy social-emotional development, and train existing providers of infants and toddlers.

F5VC supported AB 2806 aimed to ensure equitable treatment of children in state preschool and childcare programs by prohibiting suspensions and expulsions, except as a last resort. This legislation hopes to mitigate factors that can contribute to the preschool-to-prison pipeline and strengthen Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Governor Newsom signed this into law in September 2022. 

F5VC also performed significant outreach regarding Proposition 31, which bans the sale of all flavored tobacco products in vape pens, menthol cigarettes, and chewing tobaccoDespite this projected reduction of First 5 tobacco tax revenue, First 5’s supported the proposition to ensure California’s leaders promote public health and prioritize the health of our children. 

Highlights from our Recent Collaborations


F5VC consistently leads collaborative efforts to achieve our goals across the county.

EC-LINC Parent Leader Network


Parents within EC-LINC communities are supported to collaborate, help each other, and advocate for parent voice and leadership in early childhood systems. Harnessing the power of parents and giving them space and support to share their expertise, wisdom, and knowledge ensures that we keep children, youth, and families at the center of our work. The Parent Leader Network seeks to strengthen parents’ leadership and expertise in priority action areas such as equity, early childhood systems, and parent engagement. It increases parents’ access to peer-to-peer education, support, and paid leadership opportunities. 

County of Ventura Library System


Through the support of a California State Library grant, F5VC has collaborated with the County of Ventura Library system for the past three years to introduce Parent and Child Together (PACT) classes within library environments. Thanks to the “Stronger Together: Early Learning” state grant, PACT is being offered in selected libraries, facilitated by F5VC’s comprehensive training, technical assistance, and coaching. Through this initiative, library staff members have the unique opportunity to specialize in working with young children and their families, expanding their knowledge base on best practices in early learning and family support resources. In 2023, F5VC will further enhance its services by introducing new parent education workshops and storytimes at select library locations.

Policy Platform


F5VC’s Policy Priorities are aligned with the strategic priorities and goals outlined in our 2020 – 2026 Strategic Plan. These priorities are intended to help us achieve the vision that all children are born healthy, thrive in nurturing environments, and enter school prepared and eager to learn.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Advocate for sustainable investments to offset the impact of the Proposition 31 flavored tobacco ban and declining tobacco tax revenue.
  • Leverage other health, family, and child development investments with the goal of establishing a sustainable early childhood system. 

Comprehensive Child Health and Development

  • Ensure all children prenatal to age 5 and their families have and utilize comprehensive
    health and dental insurance, including infant and early childhood mental health services.
  • Increase routine screenings for prenatal substance use, developmental delays, childhood trauma/Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and parental mental health, and improve the system for referral and follow-up through Help Me Grow’s system of care.
  • Enhance primary care practices to include social and emotional development.
  • Address the social determinants of health and promote general healthy practices such as good oral health, healthy eating, physical activity, and breastfeeding, and avoiding exposure to harmful substances including tobacco, vaping, hookah, marijuana, and illicit substances.

Quality Early Learning

  • Promote the importance of the early years (prenatal – age three) and early relational health including developmental screenings, optimum attachment and bonding, and early literacy experiences, particularly through Family Resource Centers and home visitation programs.
  • Promote equitable access to high-quality early care and education programs across a mixed delivery system for young children.
  • Promote early literacy as a pathway to school success.
  • Strengthen the compensation and professional qualification of the early childhood workforce.

Strong and Resilient Families

  • Increase parent and caregiver knowledge, understanding, and awareness of early childhood development, healthy lifestyles, and the impact of trauma and toxic stress.
  • Increase social connections and support for parents, through policies promoting improved family leave, flexible work schedules, child tax credits, and additional family-friendly benefits
  • Provide parents, families, and the community with relevant, timely and culturally. appropriate information, resources, services, and support, especially for immigrant families who regularly report fear of utilizing services.
  • Support parents as leaders and advocates for their children, family, and community. 

Program and Systems Integration

  • Support parent leaders and communities to prioritize the health, education, and well-being of young children.
  • Ensure a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to address and prevent childhood poverty, abuse, and neglect, and inequities in education. 
  • Align and integrate systems of care at the state and local level to ensure that young children and their families have timely and seamless access to supports and services that best meet their needs.

Capacity Building


F5VC provides intentional, strategic training and guidance to community partners to improve consistent, evidence-based approaches to working with families and children. Capacity-building efforts are geared toward increasing system-wide knowledge and promoting a common language across partners of early childhood. Such efforts focus on increasing knowledge in the areas of early child development, such as brain development, understanding developmental milestones, and trauma-informed practices.

Neighborhood for Learning staff are trained in:

  • Zero to Three Core Competencies
  • Teaching Pyramid 
  • Parents as Teachers
  • Trauma-Informed
  • Care Coordination
  • Developmental and Family Needs Screening
  • Standard of Quality
  • Creating Brave Space
  • P.R.I.D.E. Training

Broader, Community-wide training efforts include:

  • Child Care Grant Technical Assistance
    • All childcare providers who applied for a Business Assistance Grant through the County of Ventura received a $5,000 grant to provide this essential service.
  • ACEs Aware (Landon Pediatric) 
  • Implicit Bias
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