Since its inception in 1998, First 5 San Francisco has established itself as an influential systems change agent and thought leader for issues facing young children and their families. As of October 2015, the First 5 San Francisco Commission has invested over $270 million in comprehensive programs for early childhood development, family strengthening, and other supportive services.
First 5 San Francisco is committed to advancing the well-being of children and families. We are committed to advancing equity and pursuing equitable outcomes in all aspect of our work. With a focus on deepening, protecting and securing attachments of children with parents, caregivers, and the larger community, we work to build high quality and responsive support services that enrich the lives of young children and their families.
First 5 San Francisco is committed to building coordinated systems of support for young children and their families, through a collaboratively focused and unified approach. These efforts will help ensure our children’s critical first five years are filled with positive experiences and resources to support school readiness and school success.
Early childhood care and education in support of healthy development and readiness for school has always been a central focus of First 5 San Francisco’s work. Our development of Preschool for All recognized that the full promise of a preschool experience depends on program quality. In partnership with the Office of Early Care and Education (OECE), First 5 San Francisco will shift its focus to quality assessment and improvement. Continued and expanded work with the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) can increase equity of opportunity, boost quality and facilitate system integration. This forms the basis for our Child Development I Early Care and Education goals and outcomes.
Human growth and development in the first five years are the most transformative than at any other time in the lifespan. Monitoring this progress assesses the achievement of developmental milestones of physical, socio-emotional and intellectual development. Early intervention with children at-risk of falling behind or with identified delays can lead lifelong favorable impacts. For parents and service providers, the systems of care for preventive and intervention health and developmental services can be difficult to access. Institutionalizing developmental screening and supports to access care will facilitate early identification and intervention services for children who could benefit from additional supports.
Parents and families are the primary influence on a young child’s healthy development. First 5 San Francisco’s partnership with other City departments has established Family Resource Centers (FRC) across the City for parents and other caregivers to connect with each other, build parenting skills and knowledge of child development, and help to receive concrete supports in times of need or crisis. The funded FRCs have had measurable impacts on parenting practice and are increasingly recognized as an effective service delivery platform to reach parents and families. Deepening and sustaining the work of this initiative forms a strong foundation for our family support goals and outcomes.
Approaching the system as a whole and knitting together the disparate pieces requires a coordinated change in systems of care that cuts across many areas. In addition to continuing to support current initiatives, First 5 San Francisco has both a need and ability to address overall systems change, and to work together with public and private partners to bring these changes about. The Systems Change Impact Area serves as an overarching frame that supports and extends the other three Impact Areas. Our funded collaborations with other funding partners and community stakeholders allow First 5 San Francisco to continue to work with children beyond their fifth year.