Q: What Is the Children and Families Commission of Orange County?

A: The Commission is responsible for overseeing the allocation of tobacco tax revenues received in Orange County. It funds organizations that provide health, early education and child development services to children in Orange County from the prenatal stage to age five, as well as their families. In short, it supports services that further the Commission’s goal that all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.

Q: How Did the Commission Come About?

A: The Commission was created as a result of Proposition 10, the California Children and Families Act of 1998. The proposition added a 50-cent sales tax on tobacco products sold in California. Funds help pay for early education, health programs and child development services for children from the prenatal stage to age five and their families and requires that the funds be used to support early education, health and childcare programs that promote healthy early childhood development from the prenatal stage to age five.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors established the Children and Families Commission and appointed its first nine commissioners in 1999. The Commission allocated the first tobacco tax revenues on February 2000.

Q: What Does the Commission Do?

A: The Children and Families Commission of Orange County has a simple vision: that all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.

In pursuit of this vision, the Commission advances four programmatic goals:

  • Healthy Children: Ensure the overall physical, social, emotional and intellectual health of children during the prenatal period through age five.
  • Early Learning: Provide early education opportunities for young children to maximize their potential to succeed in school.
  • Strong Families: Support and strengthen families in ways that promote good parenting for the optimal development of young children.
  • Capacity Building: Leverage resources with national and state programs, facilitate best practices among grantees, and prioritize those areas where there is a unique need.

Q: How Much Money is Spent?

A: In 2012-2013 more than $31 million was allocated to fund 161 programs that served more than 196,000 young children.

  • 61 percent to Healthy Children
  • 19 percent to Early Learning
  • 12 percent to Strong Families
  • 8 percent to Capacity Building

A: The Commission regularly updates a 10-Year Financial Plan to guide the annual allocation of funding, reflecting the latest available projections of tobacco tax revenue. The plan includes financial and investment strategies to achieve the Commission’s goals of sustainable programs to improve the health and early education of all young children in Orange County.

Q: How is the Community Involved?

A: The Commission seeks to connect with the knowledge of Orange County’s public and private-sector leaders to worthy programs that serve the community. It also seeks to involve local people—from the workforces of large organizations, to retirees, to students—in hands-on, volunteer relationships with the programs we support.

Q: What Do Your Programs Do?

A: The Commission funds programs and services to meet the overall goal of preparing young children for success in school and life. The programs support goals ranging from dental health, to early literacy and language development, homeless prevention, early math education, developmental screenings, and special issues in pediatric health care (such as early identification of autism and ADHD). The funded programs help families get access to insurance and health care, provide immunizations, as well as obtain dental, vision, hearing and mental health care.

A: The Commission funds Early Learning Specialists at every elementary school district in Orange County, connecting children and families to programs ranging from health care to early literacy . Every elementary school district also has a Commission-funded School Readiness Nurse to expand health services for children from birth to age five.

Q: Can You Help Me?

A: If you are an Orange County parent, we can help you locate the resources you need for your child, from developmental screening, to immunizations, to health care, to promoting early literacy and dealing with specific care issues-from mental health to children’s dentistry.

Click on the following links to connect to each service:

2-1-1 Resources and Referral Hotline http://www.211oc.org/

Start Immunize

Community Clinics

Early Literacy Program

Children’s Dental

Kid Builders