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.
In partnership with the First 5 Association, F5VC advocates to increase funding for early childhood health and development. While many of Governor Newsom’s planned investments have been put on hold due to the pandemic, we will continue to actively engage local elected officials in our programs to support the needs of young children as we advocate for legislation to improve the early childhood system.
In 2020, F5VC advocated strongly for CARES funding to be allocated to child care providers. We worked with the Ventura County Community Foundation and the California Lutheran University Center for Nonprofit Leadership to offer workshops and technical assistance to support providers applying for Business Assistance Grants through the County of Ventura. F5VC supported SB 1383 Paid Family Leave allowing employees who utilize paid leave to care for a new baby or a sick family member to have job protection. Governor Newsom signed this into law in September 2020.
F5VC also performed significant outreach regarding the proposed Vape Tax, to ensure that First 5 receives its equivalency if a Vape Tax is passed. First 5 partnered with the California State Association of Counties and the Women’s Legislative Caucus to pull the Vape Tax proposal until our equivalency can be guaranteed.
F5VC consistently leads collaborative efforts to achieve our goals across the county.
The 2020 Census presented an opportunity for First 5s across the state to collaborate and advocate around a common cause for children who are often left off of census forms, resulting in fewer resources allocated to the community. F5VC collaborated with partners to educate families, early childhood staff, and policymakers about the importance of including children on census forms.
From January to August 2020, bilingual census materials were distributed, including 6,000 bookmarks, 12,000 Palm Cards, 1,000 posters, and 5,000 We Count books. Every city in Ventura County had a higher census self-response rate compared to 2010, with several cities improving by more than five percent. Simi Valley, for example, increased from a 76% self-response rate in 2010 to an 83% self-response rate in 2020.
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.
F5VC recently expanded our partnership with the County of Ventura Library system to incorporate PACT classes in library settings. Through a two-year grant, F5VC will expand PACT classes to select libraries. F5VC will provide training, technical assistance, and coaching to ensure library staff has the capacity and expertise to implement classes in accordance with PACT standards and guidelines. Library staff will have the opportunity to develop a specialty in working with young children and their families, as well as build a knowledge base of best practices in the field of early learning and family support.
F5VC’s Policy Priorities are aligned with the strategic priorities and goals outlined in our 2020 – 2022 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.
F5VC provides intentional, strategic training to funded and community partners to improve consistent, evidence-based approaches to working with families and children. Capacity-building efforts are geared to increasing system-wide knowledge and promoting a common language across funded and community partners of early childhood. Such efforts focus on increasing all funded partner staff knowledge in the areas of early child development, such as brain development, understanding developmental milestones, and trauma-informed practices.