Investment in early childhood development and children’s health reduces the need for costly remedial education and social welfare programs, yielding long-term savings for Kern County. Prior to the implementation of Proposition 10, the vast majority of childhood development funds went toward children older than age five. First 5 Kern, with guidance from its Strategic Plan, has allocated funds for various initiatives that all focus on the same goal – to give Kern County children the foundation they need to succeed by providing services for prenatal through age five.
Community Health Initiative (CHI)
In line with the Commission’s top priority to reach children early, CHI focuses on providing quality healthcare to children ages 0 to 5 who are currently without health services. The goal is not only to provide health insurance, but to connect them with medical and dental homes to ensure that they receive the early healthcare and developmental screenings they need. The Initiative also includes an outreach program to assist those that are eligible for existing programs such as MediCal and the Affordable Care Act.
The goal of the school readiness in Kern County is to increase the number of children who enter school healthy and ready to succeed. The Initiative is designed to identify service gaps, expand valuable existing programs, promote practices that best prepare children for school and support those families and communities with the greatest need in preparing their children for school.
Parent Education and Support Services
First 5 Kern funded programs offer parents and caregivers access to culturally-appropriate training in child development, brain development, parenting skills, the value of playtime and access to family support services such as a public health nurse, crisis intervention, mental health, substance abuse and health education.
Early Childcare and Education
First 5 Kern supports programs with the primary objective to provide childcare with an education component. The programs offer school readiness activities and resources, developmental assessments, nutrition services and parent education.
Part of a statewide program designed to provide guidance to new and expecting parents, while offering information and resources relating to their child’s first five years. First 5 Kern partners with physicians, hospitals, clinics, family resource centers and other organizations in Kern County to distribute the Kit and provide early child development training. The Kits are available in English, Spanish and Asian languages and are free to both the provider partners and new parents.