How First 5 Contra Costa and its partners are helping to lead the way towards a complete count for the 2020 Census.
With thousands of residents staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the shelter-in-place guidelines have impacted Census outreach activities. First 5 Contra Costa and its partners have had to shift community census events and in-person canvassing to social media, digital media, and phone banking.
Although Contra Costa is self-responding at a higher percentage than the California average (57.3% compared to 49.2% as of 4/13/2020), there is plenty of work still to be done. With undercounted populations continuing to face challenges in responding to the Census, including lack of internet access, misinformation, and fear or distrust in the government (through privacy concerns and actions targeting immigrant families), an undercount in 2020 could cost Contra Costa County between $500 million and $11 billion over 10 years in federal programs.
Census Timeline Extended: online, phone, and mailed self-responses continue until October 31, 2020.
First 5 Contra Costa and its partners have been focusing on reaching families with children—as children ages 0-5 are among the most likely to go uncounted in the Census, as well as renters, low-income families, immigrants, and people of color. A complete count of all communities can help secure accurate representation and needed federal funding for children and families across Contra Costa—including programs for kids, such as schools, childcare, medical care, food assistance, housing, and public transportation.
Here are 3 ways to complete the census during our current shelter-in-place guidelines.
Complete it by mail.
All residences should have received a letter mid-March, as well as a postcard with the information to fill it out. Click here for more information on how to respond by mail. If you no longer have the form, or don’t recall receiving one, you can still complete the census online or over the phone. See below.
Complete it online.
If you have access to the internet or wifi, you can complete your Census online through your computer, tablet, or phone. Click here for more information no how to respond online. Just remember that once you start, you are not able to save your progress and must complete it in one session, or start over at another time.
Complete it over the phone.
The 2020 Census can be completed over the phone by calling 844-330-2020. You can also call the number associated with your preferred language, such as Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other languages below. Non-English and Non-Spanish Language Hours of Operation are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 10 pm Eastern Time. Click here for support in multiple languages.
Complete the Census Today
Click here to complete the census, or to learn more about the process.
Click here to learn more about the Census and activities for families in Contra Costa County.
Click here to learn more about Census from the NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
Other things to know:
- Who do you count? Count Everyone Living With You.
- There are only 9 questions on the census, you can view them here.
- Does the Census ask about Citizenship status? The Answer is NO, and here are other untrue rumors.
- Census results affect your community every day.
Last week, First 5 Contra Costa was thrilled to meet with Congressman Mark DeSaulnier for a tour of the East County First 5 Center in Pittsburg, and a discussion of our “Help Me Grow” program to improve early screening and intervention. Rep. DeSaulnier is carrying a bill this year that would significantly increase federal funding for developmental services, so children in our counties and others who need help are identified sooner, and helped faster.
Far too often, children arrive at their first day of kindergarten with signs of obvious developmental, behavioral or social challenges. In many cases, this can be prevented through timely developmental screening and early intervention, one of the most important things we can do to promote children’s health in their first years. Yet only 29% of California children receive timely developmental screenings.
First 5 Contra Costa has worked hard to ensure every pediatric provider in our county uses a standard developmental screening tool at recommended intervals. The County’s 211 information and referral service now has trained developmental specialists available to navigate parents to the programs and resources their child needs. And each of our five First 5 Centers—including the one Rep. DeSaulnier visited–has regular developmental playgroups for children with mild to moderate delays and their parents.
But children with more intensive conditions need more intensive services, and those remain harder to access. California’s Regional Center system and school districts are not sufficiently funded to meet the needs of children with autism and other significant developmental conditions. That’s why we’re so excited about Congressman DeSaulnier’s bill.
The bill—The Funding Early Intervention is the Right IDEA Act (HR4107)—would increase funding in two parts of existing law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA), over ten years. The IDEA makes free and appropriate education available to eligible children with disabilities from birth to 21 years of age. The DeSaulnier bill would increase funding for Part C of the IDEA, which gives states early intervention funds for infants and toddlers. It would also increase funding for preschool programs serving children with disabilities. Funding levels in both of these areas have eroded to the point that per-child spending is now only about 35% what it was more than two decades ago. Every year, 1 in 4 California children is at moderate or high risk for developmental, behavioral or social delays.
In Contra Costa we’re doing all we can to meet the needs of these children, their families and communities so that every child has their chance to develop to their full potential. But to do so, we’ll need help from our state and federal governments to ensure early childhood programs are fully funded. Congressman DeSaulnier’s bill is a strong step in the right direction.
For more information on Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, please visit:
For more information on the Help Me Grow program and early intervention and screening, please visit:
For more information on your local First 5 Center and upcoming programs and activities, please visit: