2014 Highlights

2014 was a productive year at First 5 Contra Costa. Our funded programs served more than 22,500 children and parents. In addition, 1,875 early child care educators from 217 child care sites received training and support on providing higher quality child care. Thanks to our funding partners for their work to help Contra Costa’s children grow up healthy, nurtured and ready to learn.

Take a look at some of our top highlights from 2014:

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Home Visits for New Dads

WHBFor the first time in its 15-year history, Contra Costa’s popular Welcome Home Baby program is offering home visiting services to new fathers. Matched with a male home visitor, the program helps fathers to become more involved in their baby’s life, which research shows produces better health and educational outcomes for children.

“Children with involved, stable fathers have fewer behavioral problems, higher educational attainment, and lower levels of emotional stress,” said Odessa Caton, program director at AspiraNet, the nonprofit that runs Welcome Home Baby. “Home visiting is an effective way to reach new parents, reduce child abuse, and improve child health and development, but most programs are only for mothers. We’re out to change that.”

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Concord Dad Helps Fathers Engage with their Kids

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Alex and his wife Marisol, also an active community leader in Concord

Alex Chavez wasn’t sure what to expect the first time he attended a Central County Regional Group meeting, but with a two-year-old son, he was interested to learn how this Group was making Concord safer and healthier for families. Three years later, he’s the Chair of the Group and its 60 active members.

“I had been looking for a way to become more involved with my community and become a community advocate, and this was it,” he said.

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Alex presenting information to the Concord Parks Commission

As a member of the Regional Group, Alex has participated on assessments to improve neighborhood streets and parks in the Monument Community, even meeting with city officials to make recommendations. Earlier this year, he advocated in Sacramento for immigrant rights, meeting with Concord’s State Assembly Member, Susan Bonilla. That, he says, is a day he will never forget.

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The Importance of Fatherhood

hvdadFathers today are spending more time with their children compared to three decades ago, according to the Families and Work Institute, a leading nonprofit that studies workforce and family issues. They are also taking on more nurturing and caregiving roles.

A relationship with dad can change a child’s life. Research shows that the role a father plays in a young child’s life is extremely important to a child’s healthy development, and there are many positive outcomes for children whose fathers are more involved in their daily lives.

In recognition of Father’s Day, First 5 offers the following tips for dads and other male caregivers:

Get involved early. Taking an active role in caring for a newborn helps dads and babies bond from the start. You might consider taking a few days off from work after the baby is born to spend quality time together. In California, new parents, including dads, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to be with their newborn. Continue reading