A dynamic, mission-driven public agency, First 5 Orange County has a more than 20-year tradition of investing in the future of Orange County’s children. Through partnerships and strategic resource allocation, we work to ensure all children reach their full potential. Our mission is to optimize the health and development of young children by promoting the importance of early childhood, encouraging innovation, and investing in systems of care.
First 5 Orange County funds initiatives and quality programs preparing children to enter kindergarten, giving them and their families the foundation of health, learning, and resiliency we know is critical for success.
A vanguard organization for data collection and analysis, First 5 Orange County has spearheaded the participation of all Orange County public schools in the Early Development Index. EDI is a measure of young children’s well-being and a validated predictor of health, education, and social outcomes. Orange County is the first region in the U.S. to achieve 100% participation in reporting and has the single largest early childhood data set nationwide.
Through our sophisticated data analysis efforts, First 5 Orange County continues to reach conclusions about how to increase economic stability for Orange County families. We use these findings to direct investments and to inform the local and state-level early childhood policy agenda.
In November 1998, California voters passed a statewide ballot initiative, Proposition 10 that added a 50-cent sales tax to tobacco products sold in the state. The resulting revenues are directed to fund new and expanded early education, health and child development programs, from the prenatal stage to age five.
The State Commission, or First 5 California, receives 20 percent of Proposition 10 funds for statewide programs and public outreach. The remaining 80 percent of funds are allocated to commissions in each of California’s 58 counties by birth rate.
In 1999, the Orange County Board of Supervisors established First 5 Orange County, Children and Families Commission and appointed nine commissioners to allocate funds to programs that promote health and early education for children in our community. The Commissioners are drawn from the ranks of public- and private-sector leaders in the areas of pediatric health and education.
First 5 Orange County began with a series of public meetings throughout the county to receive input from organizations that serve children and families, and special-need populations. Based on what was learned, First 5 Orange County adopted its first Strategic Plan. The first tobacco tax revenues were allocated in February 2000.
First 5 Orange County continues to allocate millions of dollars to fund programs and services for young children and families. The programs include pediatric hospitals, community health clinics, school districts, family shelters, and local community groups and service organizations to ensure every child in Orange County grows up great.