First 5 Kern focuses on integration of services by partnering with local children and family service providers and funding is centered around First 5’s mission: to strengthen and support Kern County children, prenatal to five years of age, and their families… with an emphasis on health, wellness, parent education, early childcare and early child education.
First 5 funding exists for the sole purpose of providing community activities and services to nurture and support children through the first five years of life; and their families.
The First 5 philosophy is centered around the knowledge that optimizing early brain development and how they are nurtured impacts the child’s emotional, physical and intellectual environment has on brain development. A child’s brain develops more in the first five years than any other time in their life. Relationship[s and contacts a child has with parents and caregivers significantly influences how a child will function in school and later in life.
First 5 Kern’s three focus areas are:
- Health and wellness
- Early childcare and education
- Parent education and support services
Each of the funded programs also incorporate an additional focus area – integration of services
The work of First 5 Kern’s funded contracts are fully evaluated to ensure the programs are making a difference in the lives of children they serve. (See “Evaluation” on the home page menu for more information.) Many contractors have been identified as model programs that have demonstrated innovative ways (and best practices) towards reaching and helping children.