First 5 Network Responds to State Budget Cut Proposals Impacting California’s Youngest Children

Media Contact: Melanie Flood FRSA

First 5 Network confronts the challenges of state budget cuts on child services and advocates for continued support for children’s programs

The First 5 Network today expressed disappointment following Governor Newsom’s May Revision in response to the state’s budget shortfall. Proposed cuts announced on Friday worsen the impact of reductions that have already been made to First 5 programs and services due to declining tobacco tax revenue. Among the programs and services facing cuts are CalWORKS Home Visiting Program, universal transitional kindergarten, Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, child care slots, and no funding for continuous Medi-Cal eligibility for children 0-5. The proposed cuts will affect California children and families who depend on crucial child care, parenting supports, mental health services, and high-quality early learning programs. 

First 5s in every county have attempted to stabilize services to young children and families despite rapidly declining tobacco taxes. The Governor’s proposed cuts add immense pressures on local First 5s and early childhood providers to administer more services with less funding. “It’s unacceptable and untenable for a state as wealthy as California to ask babies, toddlers, and families to help balance budget deficits,” said Avo Makdessian, Executive Director of the First 5 Association of California.  

“At the California Children and Families Commission (First 5 CA), our steadfast dedication to meeting the needs of children aged 0-5, their families, and communities remains resolute,” said First 5 CA Executive Director, Jackie Wong. “However, this budget proposal falls drastically short of reflecting our values that create the trauma informed, healing centered and culturally responsive systems which our children and families deserve. As we confront the gravity of the revised budget, our focus remains unyielding on realizing our Audacious Goal and North Star: ensuring that every child in California has the opportunity to thrive.” 

In the face of the staggering budgetary constraints, the First 5 Network remains committed to doing more with less for the communities it serves. Despite the challenges, the network is steadfast in its mission – to ensure the basic rights and essential services of children prenatal-to-five are not eroded by financial shortfalls. The First 5 Network hopes to work with the Legislature and the Administration to overcome these hurdles and champion the cause of California’s youngest residents and their families.  

“Ensuring the prosperity and well-being of our youngest residents is at the core of First 5 LA’s commitment,” said First 5 LA President and CEO, Karla Pleitéz Howell. “We encourage the Governor to uphold the innovative policies that lifted up children and families during the pandemic. Protecting child care for our youngest learners and the workforce is paramount to LA County families, while also protecting core programs such as Medi-Cal, CalWORKs and Home Visiting will ensure their basic needs are met. The First 5 Network is ready to work with the Governor to find solutions so that all of California’s children have what they need.” 

Click here to download a PDF of this press release.


About First 5 California

First 5 California was established in 1998 when voters passed Proposition 10, which taxes tobacco products to fund services for children ages 0 to 5 and their families. First 5 California programs and resources are designed to educate and support teachers, parents, and caregivers in the critical role they play during a child’s first five years–to help California kids receive the best possible start in life and thrive. For more information, please visit

About First 5 Association

First 5 Association of California is the voice of the 58 First 5 county commissions, which were created by voters in 1998 to ensure our young children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Together, First 5 touches the lives of more than one million kids, families, and caregivers each year, and strengthens our state by giving kids the best start in life. Learn more at

About First 5 LA

As the state’s largest funder of early childhood, First 5 LA works to strengthen systems, parents and communities so that children are ready to succeed in school and life. An independent public agency, First 5 LA’s goal is to support the safe and healthy development of young children so that by 2028, all children in L.A. County will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. Learn more at