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FIRST 5 Santa Clara County is proud to serve the young children and families of our county as a funder, a resource, and an advocate.

  Children's Voice - August 2019

Children's Voice - August 2019

Community Snapshot

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Potter the Otter gives high fives during a National Night Out event at the Reentry Resource Center.


The fabric of our county is woven together by families with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. FIRST 5 celebrates this diversity in our programming, outreach, and community investments – ensuring that all families have access to the supports they need to be happy, healthy and thriving.

Families separated by incarceration are a particularly vulnerable population with unique needs which are served through FIRST 5 programming. FIRST 5 is partnering with the County of Santa Clara’s Probation Department to establish a Comprehensive System of Care for incarcerated parents, caregivers and their children. This program aims to strengthen families through the fostering of parent resilience, enhancement of parenting skills, and establishment of supportive social connections and support networks. FIRST 5 also works with families at the Reentry Center to offer support services to recently released parents and caregivers to assist them in their transition back to their families and communities.   

The families involved in this program and their stories of resilience are inspiring. I encourage you to watch the video below from our newly launched “We Are FIRST 5” campaign to hear directly from parents themselves.

FIRST 5 will continue to embrace the diverse needs of all Santa Clara County families to provide a brighter, healthier future for our youngest children.

In partnership,



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FIRST 5 staff joined Santa Clara County CEO Jeff Smith, County Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Mike Wasserman, and Reentry Director Javier Aguirre at the National Night Out event at the Reentry Resource Center. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.

Potter the Otter was on hand to greet parents and share hugs with children and their families who had been recently reunited after incarceration. Many recently released parents offered testimonials regarding the importance of the FIRST 5 services offered to them and their children involved in the criminal justice system.

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FIRST 5 and its funded Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are partnering with the Santa Clara County’s Sheriff Department to provide evidence-based workshops and supportive services in the Elmwood Correctional Facility and Santa Clara County Main Jail for incarcerated parents and caregivers who have children ages 0-5. FIRST 5 supportive services are also provided in the Santa Clara County Reentry Center for newly released parents and caregivers to connect them to their neighborhood FRC, to further strengthen their relationship with their children, and to foster community connections.

Watch the video below to learn more about FIRST 5's family supportive services and hear directly from staff and participants of the program.


A new study published in the Journal of Community Health, funded in part by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, shows that elementary school students who see their teachers drinking water are more likely to report drinking water throughout the school day themselves.

The study analyzed data collected from a larger evaluation which measured the impact that increasing water access and water promotion in schools had on students’ water consumption. The evaluation took place in 19 elementary schools in Santa Clara County, ten of which received new water bottle refilling stations and water promotion efforts in the classroom. The other nine schools served as controls and received no interventions. As part of the water promotion efforts, the ten schools who received interventions were offered copies of “Potter the Otter – A Tale About Water” for their students, as well as a Potter the Otter puppet show.

While improving access to drinking water is an important step toward increasing students’ water consumption, this research highlights that the promotion of drinking water as a beverage of choice is also important. Supporting teachers as healthy hydration role models is an effective way schools can encourage their students to drink water throughout the school day.

FIRST 5 funded the study as part of ongoing efforts to prevent early childhood obesity in Santa Clara County. To learn more about FIRST 5’s recommended strategies and interventions to address and prevent early childhood obesity, and our efforts to date, please read our Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Strategic Plan 2016-2019.



Breast milk provides all the nutrients, calories, and fluid a newborn needs for the first six months of life - though breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the first few days.

FIRST 5 partners with the Santa Clara Valley Breastfeeding Task Force and Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Lactation Support Program to support breastfeeding efforts throughout Santa Clara County. Efforts include the Breastfeeding Support Line (408. 885.5950) which provides mothers with connections to resources, referrals, and support over the phone.

As a result of collaborations like this, Santa Clara County continues to have one of the highest breastfeeding initiation rates in California with 97.8% of infants born in Santa Clara County initiating breastfeeding in the hospital.

Visit FIRST 5’s website for a full list of breastfeeding resources and upcoming community events.


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In mid-August, early childhood advocates launched All Together Now, a new campaign and rallying cry to amplify the need to make policies, practices, and systems better for California’s kids.

“The first five years offer a huge opportunity, when we can lay the tracks for kids to thrive socially, cognitively, and emotionally,” said Sarah Crow, managing director of First 5 Center for Children’s Policy, which is coordinating the campaign. “We know that healthy, resilient kids become well-rounded adults who create thriving communities—and this doesn’t happen by magic.”

All Together Now’s website contains common messaging, fact sheets, and social media assets to help equip advocates of all kinds—including parents and families—with communications tools to ensure young kids are prioritized in policy and budget decisions. Priority areas for the campaign include developmental screening, early intervention, paid family leave, home visiting, and early learning.

The campaign is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Silver Giving Foundation, and the Bay Area Early Childhood Funders.

“Everyone in California benefits from strong families and healthy kids,” said Moira Kenney, executive director of First 5 Center for Children’s Policy and First 5 Association of California. “It’s time to dream big for our littlest kids.”


FIRST 5 is a member of the Santa Clara County Childhood Feeding Collaborative, which aims to prevent chronic, lifestyle-related health conditions in children by helping them grow into happy, competent, and healthy eaters.

The Collaborative provides information and training about best feeding practices to pediatric healthcare providers, public health programs, and community-based organizations, so parents receive consistent, best practice feeding messages from each of their service providers. 

The Collaborative recently launched a new website with information on best feeding practices and resources including a new handout on the Five Keys to Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater. 

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Click here to view the flyer in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


The SEEDS (Sensitive, Encourage, Educate, Develop through Doing, and Self-Image) of Early Learning program is designed to develop critical early literacy skills and strong language foundations for children birth through age five by providing a supportive professional development program for family childcare providers.

Participants will learn how to be responsive to a child's social-emotional needs and build a literacy-rich environment in the classroom. Participating providers also receive a $1,000 stipend, free resources and supplies, and individual coaching opportunities.

View the flyer for more information on eligibility, training requirements, and how to register.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Community Room
FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
4000 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95117

Children's Voice - September 2019

Children's Voice - September 2019

Children's Voice - July 2019

Children's Voice - July 2019