SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- First 5 commissions representing counties throughout California gathered at the State Capitol today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of voters' passage of Proposition 10. The 1998 ballot initiative created the First 5 network with dedicated funding from a tax on tobacco.
Representatives of these Commissions spent the morning and afternoon calling upon lawmakers to prioritize early childhood development programs in budget and policy decisions.
During a break between meetings with lawmakers, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon delivered a keynote during a celebration on the Capitol steps that included a reading corner with Sesame Street's Rosita and Potter the Otter, an interactive science experiment, arts and crafts, an exhibit display of First 5 California's achievements and the First 5 Express Van. The event also featured a First 5 California photo collage on the Governor's Wall.
Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) received "Champions for Children" Awards for their work advancing early childhood issues. They were recognized for backing efforts this legislative session to increase pay and recruitment of child care providers (Aguiar-Curry, AB 2292); bolstering home visiting for CalWORKs families with small children (Arambula, AB 992); and advancing more rigorous developmental screening practices (McCarty, AB 11).
Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) was also recognized for serving as a former commissioner of First 5 Sonoma County.
"Our kids are our collective future. These legislators' commitment to the wellbeing of California's youngest children is a step in the right direction," said Moira Kenney, Executive Director of First 5 Association, which represents First 5s in the state's 58 counties. "Families are struggling across our state—with poverty, quality child care, and access to early intervention services. By supporting kids in the early years, we can shape the course of their lives—and our society."
"A child's wellbeing is a shared responsibility with a shared benefit for our society," said Kim Belshé, Executive Director of First 5 LA. "We need to support children at the earliest possible moments to make the greatest impact. We need leaders and lawmakers to prioritize these voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs. They are the best way to level the playing field so all kids have the opportunity to succeed."
To access the video news release providing coverage of today's launch event please click here, enter Username: five, Password (case sensitive): five.
About First 5 LA
First 5 LA is an independent County agency in Los Angeles that advocates on behalf of parents with young children to help every child, prenatal to age 5, be healthier, safer and better prepared for kindergarten. Knowing 90 percent of a child's brain is developed by age 5, First 5 LA partners with other county agencies, parents and organizations to help elected officials prioritize funding for early childhood education, health care and other programs that young children and their parents need. Please visit www.first5la.org for more information.
About First 5
California voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, creating First 5 commissions in all 58 counties and a state commission to support the healthy development of children from birth to age five. Together, First 5 touches the lives of more than one million kids, families, and caregivers each year, and strengthens our state by giving kids the best start in life. Learn more: www.first5association.org.
SOURCE First 5 LA