top of page

Equitable and Sustainable Early Childhood Systems

We believe in a family-centered approach that focuses on prevention and early interventions.

First 5 Santa Cruz County is working to increase 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, and increase in local, state, and federal funding to sustain and institutionalize investments in the early childhood system of care.


While our work supports all young children and their families in Santa Cruz County, we prioritize serving the most vulnerable among us including low-income families, English language learners, and families who live in communities with the highest need. First 5 Santa Cruz County has also played a central role in strengthening the early childhood system of care by:

  • Leveraging Prop 10 resources to create, strengthen, or fill gaps in service delivery systems

  • Supporting community initiatives, training, data sharing, community events, and capacity-building projects

  • Implementing and evaluating evidence-based and research-informed programs and practices

  • Facilitating collaboration among public, nonprofit, and private partners in order to connect siloed systems and services

  • Serving as the backbone for collective impact collaboratives, such as Quality Counts Santa Cruz County and Thrive by 5

  • Advocating for policies and budgets that prioritize early childhood

  • Convening partners to implement local solutions to systems and policy changes initiated at the local, state, and federal levels.

Over the last 25 years, these service integration and systems building functions have become a cornerstone of First 5 Santa Cruz County’s strategy to create sustainable impacts. Systems building as a sustainability strategy has become increasingly important as Prop 10 revenue has steadily declined due to reductions in tobacco use, as intended by the original legislation.



First 5 Santa Cruz County is proud to serves as conveners, leaders and thought partners in the following community initiatives:

2022-23 First 5 Santa Cruz County Annual Evaluation Report

2022-23 First 5 Santa Cruz County Annual Evaluation Report

Executive Summary

bottom of page