San Francisco Chronicle Examines First 5 California Program
The San Francisco Chronicle on Friday looked at First 5 California, a program administered by county public health departments statewide through which nurses and other health professionals counsel parents on caring for their newborn children. The program is funded by Proposition 10, a 1998 ballot measure that imposed a 50-cent tax on tobacco products and raises about $600 million per year for services and programs that promote healthy parenting and smoking cessation. Each county has an appointed commissioner that administers the county's share of the funds and develops programs and services that support early childhood development for children from birth to age five. The program is based on studies that show that children typically are healthier later in life if they develop sensible health behaviors during their first five years, the Chronicle reports. First 5 programs have been established in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties. Three public health nurses in San Francisco this month will begin making house calls and initially will target low-income and uninsured parents. According to Moira Kenney, executive director of the San Francisco-based Children and Families Commission, the goal is to offer a home visit to every woman after delivery. Nurses will counsel women on topics such as breast feeding, immunizations, development stages and infant sleep habits. "We're trying to fill the gap and meet the needs of women who aren't receiving those services," Kenney said (Pena, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30).
In related news, First 5 San Mateo County has announced $750,264 in grants to six county and not-for-profit agencies, the Chronicle reports. Three agencies -- South Coast Collaborative, Edgewood Center for Children and Families, and the county Office of Education -- have received grants ranging from $210,000 to $220,000 over two years to expand parent and home visiting programs, expand pilot programs supporting relative caregivers and home visits and provide language and literacy development training for educators and parents. Three groups, including El Concilio of San Mateo County and Community Association for Rehabilitation, will receive grants ranging from $29,000 to $35,000 to combat obesity in children ages five and younger and implement a child care program for children ages two to five. The Peninsula Library System has submitted a third planning proposal to create a comprehensive community plan for children ages five and younger; the grant funding will be contingent on the system training senior and youth volunteers (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.