First 5 Contra Costa is excited to be launching a new project focused on creating more inclusive early care and education environments for children with disabilities.
Measure X is a countywide 20-year, ½ cent sales tax approved by Contra Costa County voters on November 3, 2020. The ballot measure language included an intent to invest in early childhood services, and First 5 Contra Costa is excited that the Board of Supervisors allocated these local funds to address this large early childhood need in the county. The Board of Supervisors allocated $405,000 per year of Measure X funds to the effort, and First 5 Contra Costa is adding $200,000 per year in Proposition 10 funding.
First 5 Contra Costa has released a competitive bidding process to select a consultant to facilitate a community planning process to identify ways to improve early care and education providers’ ability to effectively include children with disabilities in their programs. Focus groups will be held with key stakeholders, including parents of children with disabilities, early care and education providers, and community organizations who work with children with disabilities. Information will also be drawn from the 2020 Inclusion Blueprint developed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education in collaboration with other early childhood agencies. The resulting plan will aim to build the capacity of early care and education providers by increasing their knowledge, skills, and resources to better include children with disabilities.
In addition to the community planning process, starting this fall First 5 Contra Costa will offer trainings to early care and education providers on inclusion strategies. Paired with these trainings, providers will have access to mini-grants, toolkits, and consultation to promote children’s learning, development, and sense of belonging in inclusive, accessible early care and education environments.
Through this effort, we will create more inclusive early care and education spaces that provide children, families and providers with the support they need to be healthy and ready to learn.
First 5 Contra Costa invites community input on this effort. If you are interested in participating in one of the focus groups or learning more about the effort, please reach out to Emily Hampshire (she/they), Trauma & Resiliency Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.