First 5 Contra Costa helps young children start school healthy and ready to learn. We invest in programs and advocate for policies focused on children during their first five years, the most important time in children's development.
Our vision is that Contra Costa's children grow up healthy, ready for school, and supported in safe, nurturing families and communities.
First 5 Contra Costa receives funding from Proposition 10, a California ballot initiative passed in 1998 which added a 50 cent-per-pack tax on tobacco products. Proposition 10 was approved by voters to dedicate a revenue stream for young children and provide them with healthcare, school readiness, child development, and family support programs. Funds received by the tobacco tax are distributed by the First 5 California commission for statewide programs and by county First 5 commissions to support local priorities for young children.
We have invested more than $130 million in health and education programs for children prenatal to age 5 and their families.
Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years and that caregiving during these years shapes the way a child learns, thinks, and behaves for the rest of his or her life. Proposition 10 was passed by California voters to fund health and education programs that take advantage of this critical time in development and provide children with a strong foundation.
Numerous studies have confirmed that investing in the early years reduces the need for more expensive tax payer-funded services later, such as foster care, special education, and welfare programs. First 5 investments are giving Contra Costa's children the foundation they need to succeed in school and life.
Approximately $550 million is collected each year statewide from the tobacco tax. Eighty percent of the revenues go to county commissions to fund local programs that address local priorities. First 5 California receives twenty percent for statewide programs. Funds are apportioned to county First 5 commissions based upon birth rate data.
In 2016, First 5 Contra Costa received $8.4 million in local Proposition 10 revenue and an additional $2.2 million in grants to implement programs. We invested $8.9 million in health and education programs for young children and families. See our revenues and investments for the last three years.
Tobacco taxes are a declining revenue source. As fewer taxes are collected, allocations for each county are reduced proportionately. On average, Prop. 10 revenues have declined about 3% every year.
For many years, First 5 Contra Costa has used a sustainability fund to make up for the shortfall and fully fund programs. But now, we anticipate this fund will be depleted by 2020. Although we've received external funding (from state, federal and foundation grants), it's not enough to make up for the decline in Prop. 10 revenue and depleted sustainability fund. That's why our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan includes reductions of about $1 million for programs we can no longer support and a focus on three core areas: quality child care, family support and early screening and intervention.
The funds are administered by the First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission, a board made up of nine members and nine alternates appointed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.
We fund programs and activities that help children grow up healthy and ready to learn, such as:
- First 5 Centers offering free parenting classes and child enrichment programs
- Home visiting support for expecting and new parents
- Training and education for child care providers to make sure children receive high-quality care
- Quality Matters, Contra Costa's system to rate and improve child care quality
- Training and support for children with special needs or mental health problems in child care settings
- The Help Me Grow system to connect children to early screening and intervention services
- Three regional groups of parent advocates working to make the county safer and more family-friendly
- Parenting kits providing information and resources for new parents
- Education campaigns such as Sugar Bites and Quality Child Care Matters
See our complete list of current contractors and funded programs.
Prop. 10 directs each county to create a strategic plan outlining how it will allocate the funding locally to support young children and their families.
First 5 Contra Costa’s strategic plan is based on extensive community input, our experience implementing Proposition 10 for nearly 20 years, and current research and successful practices in the early childhood development field.