Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

First 5 FAQs

The Commission contracts with agencies to provide direct services to young children and their families throughout the county. These programs align with the First 5 Strategic Plan and collectively help achieve the desired results of getting children ready to succeed in school, ensuring children are safe and healthy, and developing healthy, nurturing, self-sustaining families.

The mission of First 5 is to “promote, support and enhance the lives of our children prenatal through age five.”

This organization came about with the passage of Proposition 10 in November 1998 and resulted in a 50 cent tax per pack of cigarettes and tobacco-related products to fund education, health and childcare programs that promote early childhood development from prenatal through five years of age. This initiative currently produces annual revenue of approximately $25 million to San Bernardino County to invest in our county’s young children. The State allocates the funds based upon the number of live births in each county. In San Bernardino, our annual birth rate is approximately 28,000.

First 5 San Bernardino does not provide any direct services or currently fund childcare services to date. Dial 2-1-1 to locate agencies that provide childcare services near you.

First 5 San Bernardino procures programs and services for children in San Bernardino County ages 0-5 through a competitive bidding process often indicated by a request for proposals (RFP) pending approval from the Commission. To sign up for RFP announcements, please visit our Procurements page.

Young children and their families receive quality services through parent education, health care, school readiness and other programs. To date, First 5 has invested nearly $100 million throughout the County to serve thousands of children and their parents. Ultimately, everyone benefits from this effort because of the long-term impact on the community.

Brain development research indicates that the emotional, physical and intellectual environments that a child is exposed to have a profound impact on how his or her brain develops. Positive experiences establish a foundation for future success. First 5 San Bernardino believes that appropriate support services to parents and children during the early years will increase the positive results in a child’s life.

All seven members of the Commission are appointed by the Board of Supervisors:

One (1) member shall be a member of the Board of Supervisor
Two (2) members shall be the Director of Public Health and the Assistant Administrative Officer for Human Services
Four (4) members shall be representatives of community-based organizations, educators specializing in early childhood development, local school districts, local medical, pediatric or obstetric associations or societies, and local child care resource or referral agency
The members of the Commission shall hold office for two (2) years, except that individuals who serve as the Assistant County Administrator for Social Services and the Director of Public Health shall serve for the duration of holding such office.

The First 5 Commission strongly believes that community involvement is crucial for programs success. The Commission is utilizing various methods for engaging the community such as:

  • Community Investments – to ensure services are delivered in areas where gaps have been determined
  • Input from the community is received through ongoing public meetings, community forums, focus groups and key informant interviews
  • Up-to-date information is shared with the community through postings on our web site, publication of informational materials and other community education opportunities
  • Agency participation in regional collaborative meetings of service providers

The Commission makes investment decisions in accordance with our Outcomes Framework. The three critical questions asked throughout this decision-making process include:

  1. What are we investing in?
  2. What is the likelihood that we’ll get a return on this investment (in the form of human gain)?
  3. Is this the best possible use of our resources?

All funding opportunities must align with the First 5 San Bernardino Strategic Plan and be able to contribute to the results the Commission is seeking for our children.