SACRAMENTO –The statewide network of First 5s gathered April 30th on the North Lawn of the State Capitol to celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros, a national event promoting literacy for children of all backgrounds. Before and after the event, First 5 staff visited legislators to urge their support for early childhood components of Governor Newsom’s budget proposal.
“I’m excited to join First 5 on Día de los Niños to celebrate children and promote multicultural literacy,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who hosted a bilingual story time during the event. “We will only achieve the governor’s vision of a California for All when we truly put children and families first. This first budget of the Newsom Administration makes bold strides to uplift young children and families by making significant investments in their well-being and success.”
Governor Newsom’s “California for All” budget proposal includes more than $2.7 billion in funding that will directly advance policies and priorities First 5 has championed for decades. These include supporting early care and education; increasing developmental and trauma screening rates; expanding funding for home visiting; and expanding paid family leave and tax credits for working families.
“Families and young children across California are struggling; nearly half live in or near poverty,” said Moira Kenney, executive director of First 5 Association. “First 5 is thrilled that Governor Newsom’s proposal addresses many key early childhood issues that, historically, have been neglected in the budget. When we support children in the earliest years, we not only shape the course of their lives, we shape our future as a state.”
California has a staggering 1.8 million income-eligible families without access to affordable and high-quality early care and education. In addition, only 29% of kids receive timely developmental screenings, and one in seven children experience abuse and/or neglect by age five.
“We’re delighted to join with fellow First 5 counties from across the state to encourage our lawmakers to support the early childhood elements of the budget,” said Kim Belshé, executive director of First 5 Los Angeles. “By building upon the past work of the State Legislature to advance a comprehensive approach to early childhood development, this budget will help us achieve long-lasting results for children and families.”
First 5 executive directors, commissioners, and staff from around the state; legislators; advocacy partners; and families and children attended First 5’s Día celebration, which was co-hosted by the California State Library. Activities included children’s yoga, art projects, a photo booth, and the First 5 Express. For social media coverage of the event, please see the @First5Assoc Twitter feed, or hashtag #CA4AllKids. For photos, contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“First 5s are honored to join the Governor, First Partner, and legislature in celebrating the critical importance of the first five years of a child’s development,” said Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California. “Our vision is for all of California’s children to receive the best possible start in life and thrive, and our Advocacy Day highlights how we are achieving this goal.”