News & Notes:


Immigration Hotline Launches in Contra Costa

In the midst of immigration raids that swept the Bay Area last week, Contra Costa County launched a new hotline and rapid-response initiative to provide free, trustworthy information and legal support to immigrant families.

Called Stand Together Contra Costa, the initiative includes a 24-hour hotline, a new multi-lingual website, rapid response for local deportation activities, legal consultations and deportation defense services, and immigrant rights education and training.

The mission of Stand Together Contra Costa is to ensure that all people in Contra Costa County, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are afforded the due-process rights established by the Constitution. The initiative is modeled after similar programs in most Bay Area counties.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and local foundations are funding this public-private initiative. The Office of the Public Defender and a coalition of nonprofit organizations led by Catholic Charities of the East Bay are managing the program.

Immigrant families First 5-funded programs serve have expressed increasing fear and anxiety regarding misinformation, discrimination, and deportation threats they’ve experienced since the Trump Administration’s immigration crackdowns started last year. Just last week, a national survey of educators showed that these crackdowns are significantly harming children’s academic performance, attendance, and behavior.

Stand Together Contra Costa will allay some of these fears and support our Contra Costa neighbors and families.  Please share this new resource widely.

Stand Together’s 24-hour, staffed hotline can be reached at (925) 900-5151, or visit


New Antioch First 5 Center Opening this Month

The new Antioch First 5 Center is opening next week! Drop-in classes start March 19 and run for two weeks. Come by and check out the new site.

Soon after, the Center will be open full-time six days a week, and offer classes on Saturday as well.

The new Center is located at 300 H Street in downtown Antioch around the corner from the former location.

Families should contact the Antioch/Delta First 5 Center (925) 516-3880 for information about class registration. Information will also be posted on the Antioch First 5 Center Facebook page.

Find First 5 Center class schedules.


Regional Group Celebrates Eighth Park Renovation

Members of the West County Regional Group and the City of San Pablo just celebrated the completion of a major renovation project at Davis Park, a park that was plagued by crime, graffiti, and unsafe conditions until they joined forces with the City of San Pablo to improve it. This is the eighth neglected park First 5 Contra Costa’s Community Engagement Program has renovated in the last three years!

Davis Park’s make-over includes new police surveillance cameras, water fountains, lighting, picnic tables, BBQ grills, waste and recycling receptacles, and new tot-friendly bathrooms.

Davis Park was among the lowest rated when the WCRG evaluated every park in San Pablo for safety issues, old bathrooms, and lacking amenities like picnic tables and functional water fountains. After the parents presented their findings and recommendations to the San Pablo City, council members allocated $550,000 from the city budget for improvements.

To deter crime, the Regional Group members have sponsored park clean-ups and community meetings with police. First 5 Contra Costa will also be sponsoring free sports classes and other children’s activities to increase park use and children’s access to physical activity programs.  More than half of San Pablo’s children struggle with obesity – the highest rate of childhood obesity in Contra Costa County.

Davis Park is located at 1661 Folsom Avenue in San Pablo. Learn more about the Regional Groups.


Toddler Takes Big Steps Thanks to Help Me Grow

Constance and Jubel were concerned when their 15-month old baby boy Lars still wasn’t walking. Each day Constance told herself, “Maybe he’ll walk today.”

She consulted her pediatrician who told her to “wait and see”. Constance found this advice unsatisfactory, and the couple went to the West County First 5 Center to get developmental screening for Lars instead.

Lars received a screening on the spot, and it verified his gross motor development was behind. Three days later, Lars started attending a Help Me Grow developmental playgroup, a class First 5 Contra Costa created for young children who have moderate delays in their development.

After the first class, the occupational therapist told Constance that Lars was having issues with his balance, and as a result, his muscles were underdeveloped in one leg. She gave Constance and Jubel exercises to do with Lars at home. After two classes, Lars was walking a few steps holding the therapists’ hands. He had never done that before. Four weeks later, as they were opening Christmas presents with family, Constance told Lars to “Come to Mama.” He did.

“He was like barreling toward me. He’s walking finally, so that was kind of awesome. Merry Christmas!”

Lars is now climbing and running and riding a scooter. Constance and Jubel don’t have any concerns about how he his developing and growing.

“As a mom, I think doctors need to listen to my perspective and check every avenue. Developmental screening is the first step to that. A lot of time parents are relieved to see that their kids are on point and in the typical range. But sometimes kids aren’t,” said Constance. “You don’t want to think there’s anything not going right with your kid, but at the same time, we already knew something wasn’t going right. It was nice to get validation about our instincts with Lars. Then we could see if this was something we could solve. And it was.”

Learn more about AB11 (McCarty), proposed legislation to expand developmental screening practices in California.


Prop 64 and Keeping Kids Safe

Now that adult recreational marijuana use is legal under California’s Proposition 64, it’s important for pregnant and breastfeeding women and families with young children to take precautions to protect their babies and kids.

The first three years of life are the most rapid and critical period of brain development, making infants and toddlers particularly vulnerable to marijuana exposure. Prenatal exposure to THC, the chemical compound in cannabis, may have long-term damaging effects for children. Studies have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to decreased birth weight and later learning delays and behavior problems in children. There is no known safe amount of marijuana use for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

Safely storing marijuana out of children’s reach is another issue. States that have legalized recreational marijuana have found an increased number of unintentional child exposures to marijuana, particularly from children consuming edible products like brownies. Edible products have high amounts of marijuana, and the symptoms are more severe for a small child.

Marijuana-related visits to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado nearly doubled two years after legalization. Even with the anticipated packaging restrictions in California, children will still be at risk of ingesting appealing-looking edible products.

The California Department of Public Health, First 5 San Joaquin, and Children’s Hospital Colorado have some informative materials to share with families: