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Community Dashboard­­­­­
First 5 Santa Cruz County
JULY 1, 2021 - JUNE 30, 2022
Committed to helping the community

Our vision at First 5 Santa Cruz County is to support healthy, happy, and well-prepared children, thriving families, connected communities and equitable systems.

To achieve this vision we support programs that enrich early childhood education, provide access to health care, help foster and support strong positive relationships, and strengthen equitable and sustainable early childhood systems throughout our county.

Each year we have the opportunity to share our Annual Evaluation Report with the community. Over the course of the 2021-22 fiscal year, First 5 Santa Cruz County staff worked diligently to collect and analyze this year's data that describes each of the funded programs, presents key results, and recognizes all of the accomplishments that were achieved.

This data is a majority of what is shared here on our First 5 Santa Cruz County Community Dashboard. Click here to read the Executive Summary and our full Annual Evaluation Report (insert links)

Kids Blowing Bubbles

Since its inception, First 5 Santa Cruz County has invested in many innovative, effective programs and initiatives that help:

  • Ensure all children ages birth through age 5 have access to health insurance and preventive care

  • Increase protective factors and decrease child abuse and neglect

  • Improve access to affordable, quality early care and education

  • Build early language and literacy skills that are the foundation for future learning

To continue realizing this vision, First 5 Santa Cruz County established four priorities for the current 2020 – 2025 strategic plan (link to strategic plan):

Healthy Children

  • Increased access to affordable quality health care for children 0-5

  • Increased use of preventive health care

  • Improved maternal, infant, and child health

Thriving Families

  • Increased resilience of young children and their families

  • Improved parenting practices and parent-child relationships

  • Increased “social capital” (relationships and connections) of young children and their families

  • Decreased child abuse and neglect

Early Care

& Education

  • Increased access to affordable, high quality early care and education

  • Increased early learning and school readiness skills (developmental, social-emotional, cognitive)

  • Increased stability and sustainability of the early care and education system

Early Childhood System

  • Increased coordination and integration among organizations and sectors serving young children and families

  • Increase in local, state, and federal policies and legislation that prioritize prevention, early intervention, and equity for young children and their families

  • Increase in local, state, and federal funding to sustain and institutionalize investments in the early childhood system of care

First 5 Serves Our Community
First 5 Santa Cruz County reaches children who can make great gains with early and smart investments

First 5’s goal is to serve the most vulnerable children ages 0-5 and their families in Santa Cruz County, including English language learners, and families who live in higher risk zones of the County.

  • First 5-supported programs are wide-reaching. In 2021-22, First 5 partners served 5,228 individual children ages 0-5, representing 33% of all children these ages in Santa Cruz County.

  • First 5 serves a high number of dual language learners. Of all Latino children ages 0-5 in Santa Cruz County, it’s estimated that at least 50% participated in services funded by First 5.

  • First 5 partners are reaching children and families who typically experience the greatest barriers to good health and well-being.  (Content still being developed)


of children aged 0-5 in Santa Cruz County


of latino children participated

Healthy Children
For the past several years, First 5 Santa Cruz County has invested in strategies to help ensure that all children have health insurance and access to care.


of mothers with newborns visited by the Baby Gateway Newborn Enrollment Program


of these mothers received a First 5 California Kit for New Parents

over 900 children

(ages 0-5) have been served by the NDFCC

  First 5 Santa Cruz County insures children

  • Santa Cruz County’s newborns are getting connected to medical care. During 2021-22, the Baby Gateway Newborn Enrollment Program provided 98% of all mothers with a newborn visit while in the hospital (or via phone), and 97% of these mothers received a First 5 California Kit for New Parents. Of all mothers with births paid by Medi-Cal, 98% were assisted to complete a Medi-Cal Newborn Referral application for their new baby, and 99% of these mothers identified a preferred primary care provider (PCP) or clinic for their child before discharge from the hospital.

  • Newborns are getting connected with new County programs. Learn more about these programs (anchor link to Baby Gateway Page)

  • Children are getting vision screening. The VisionFirst program provides children as young as 6 months old with a simple instrument-based vision screening right in their child care and transitional kindergarten settings. Program Total from Report(still coming) had possible vision problems identified.

  • Children are getting support to reach developmental milestones. Foster children with neurodevelopmental needs are getting referred to supportive services through a coordinated and multidisciplinary system called the Neurodevelopmental Foster Care Clinic (NDFCC). Between 2011-2022 over 900 children (ages 0-5) have been served by the NDFCC. (Link to webpage)

Why's it important? 
Uninsured children are:

Over 13 times more likely to lack a usual source of care

Nearly 5 times more likely to have delayed or unmet medical needs

Over 3 times more likely to have unmet mental health service needs

5 times more likely to have unmet dental and vision care needs

Nearly 4 times more likely to have an unmet need for prescription drugs.

Source: Children Now -

healthy children
Happy Family
Thriving Families
First 5 Santa Cruz County helps strengthen parent-child relationships and reduce risk for child abuse and neglect.

Through innovative programs, First 5 and its partners are helping to decrease the risk and incidence of child abuse and neglect. The Triple P - Positive Parenting Program is a world-renowned program available to families in Santa Cruz County who have children ages birth to 16, including children with special needs. Backed by more than 30 years of international, scientific research, Triple P offers families proven strategies for strengthening relationships with their children and for preventing or managing a full range of parenting challenges.

Highlights of Triple P include:

  • Evidence-based parenting support is available. Between 2010-2022, over 15,800 parents with over 30,500 children have participated in the program.

  • Parents are engaged and seeking more opportunities. Parents who attend Seminars and Workshops frequently request follow-up services, and parents who participate in one or two brief consultations for specific parenting concerns often return later for in-depth consultations and multi-session programs. #s from report

  • Parenting skills and knowledge are improving along several domains. Parents who completed assessments that measured their levels of parenting skills and knowledge along several domains showed substantial improvements in all domains, including: #s from report

    • Improvements in child behavior and emotional regulation

    • Increased use of positive parenting styles

    • Improvements in parental emotional well-being and family relationships

    • Increased parental confidence

thriving families
First 5 is helping to improve the quality of early learning programs in Santa Cruz County

§  Generalized statement about the QRIS work # from report (still coming)

Early Care and Education
First 5 Santa Cruz County builds early literacy foundations by training early childhood educators to enhance language-rich practices in the classroom

While also supporting direct services to children and families, First 5 boosts the capacity of local systems in order to extend the reach of critical early education, family support, and health services to a larger number of children and families. Systems enhancements help ensure better services for years to come.

Examples of First 5’s capacity-building work in 2021-22 include:


First 5 strengthens systems by enhancing the capacity of service providers

Skill development and coaching for early childhood educators.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 3.32.42 PM.png

Source: First 5 CCD database for July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.
Note: Demographics were only collected for teachers/providers receiving services where enough personal information was collected to create a

Unique ID.
* “Mesoamerican” languages include Mixtec, Oaxacan, and Zapoteco. “Other” primary language options include Bilingual-Other. N: (Ethnicity)=120, (Language)=121, (Gender)=121.

  • The SEEDS of Learning© framework is being used throughout Santa Cruz County child care programs. Since the founding of the Early Literacy Foundations Initiative in 2006-07, 697 unique educators have been trained in the SEEDS of Learning© framework

  • Parents are getting involved in their children’s reading  Raising A Reader (RAR), a weekly rotating book bag program for families, to boost shared reading practices and impact children’s early literacy skills. In the 2021-22 fiscal year, 2,666 children and their families participated in the program throughout the county, and over 29,500 children have participated since the beginning of this program in 2006. (link to webpage)

Equitable and sustainable early childhood systems

First 5 continues to focus on building system integration efforts and supporting community initiatives, training, shared data, community events, and capacity-building projects.


CORE Investments is both a funding model and a broader movement to create the conditions for equitable health and well-being across the life span – prenatal through end of life. While not limited to the well-being of young children and families, CORE has emerged as a substantial and critical initiative designed to help create the type of equitable, integrated services and systems originally envisioned by the authors of Prop 10. First 5 serves on the CORE Steering Committee, helping guide the project through a multi-phase, collaborative planning process, which has resulted in defining eight interdependent “CORE Conditions for Health and Well-being.” link to new website

Thrive by 5 Place on Hold for updated messaging/website

DataShare Santa Cruz County. – place holder for language around First 5’s involvement – report?- link to website

Central Coast Early Childhood Advocacy Network. Representing over 94,000 children ages 0‐8, CCECAN is a collaboration of organizations and individuals in the tri‐county area committed to strengthening and advocating for policies and systems change at the state and local level that will support thriving children and families. – our involvement/ link to website

Live Oak Cradle to Career. The Live Oak Cradle to Career Initiative (C2C) has grown from a nascent idea in 2013 championed by former Supervisor John Leopold, to a vibrant results‐based collaboration between Live Oak parents, and local education, health, and social service leaders. Language on First 5’s role and expansion.

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