Here is a quick look at some headlines from this week impacting the lives of kids 0-5 and their families. The purpose of these stories is simply to inform, and they do not necessarily reflect First 5 Kern's areas of support or efforts towards these issues.

Follow First 5 Kern on social media for more kid-centric information.

Now for the headlines........

Americans are having less children than ever before, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2018 figures represented a 2% decline from the previous year, and the fourth straight year it has fallen. The numbers fell in nearly every racial and age group, although the 35-39 and 40-44 age brackets actually saw a slight increase in birthrate. The 15-19 age group saw the largest decline at 7% (and has dropped nearly 50% since 2007).

NPR's story offered additional background , and MarketWatch translated the news into a warning about this could mean to everyone's finances, although there is no shortage of coverage on this report.

RELATED: One of the most commonly cited reasons for the decline of American women having children is the difficulty of balancing family life with work. California Governor Gavin Newsom has put together a task force to help his administration execute his intentions for a more robust paid family leave plan. It was announced on Thursday that Erin Gabel, Deputy Director for External and Government Affairs for First 5 California, has been appointed to the group.


KQED radio in San Francisco is running a series called "Starting Blocks: How California Fails Its Kids." Their recent feature is about why creating new child care centers is so hard , and focuses on a non-profit looking to expand in San Francisco. The subject of the story is facing a $9M purchase price to get out of their rented space in a local church. This is the second Starting Blocks feature in the series.

In an effort to help parents understand the importance of reading to their children from the day they are born, as well as the importance of regular health checkups, the program Reach Out and Read gives them free books every time they bring their child in for a wellness visit.

This article focuses on the group based out of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, but the organization has spread to all 50 states, and lists Kaiser Permanente as our only Kern County program.

In what is being called a landmark study, researchers took a cross-generational look at early childcare students from the 1960's and tracked not only their progress, but that of their children. They found significantly different results compared to those who were not enrolled. The article includes socioeconomic influences as well, not just household income level or individual students' intellect, and is worth a read.

Here are some other great reads from this week on children's issues:

With the California budget earning plenty of publicity last week, the LA Times takes a look at funding for schools across the state, and wonders why schools are so short on cash when school funding has never been higher.

The latest group to voice their support for increased investment in Early Childcare and Education programs: the National Guard .

A Kern County native is making her mark in Gov. Newsom's new administration. Kris Perry was named the deputy secretary for early childhood development under the California Health and Human Services Agency. LAist recently published this interview with the Bakersfield native.

The uptick in measles cases across the country has led to education on the disease that most Americans have never had to worry about before. So much so, that it's often initially misdiagnosed. But there are dangers of the disease that pregnant women should be aware of.

First 5 Ventura and their school readiness program, Neighborhoods for Learning was recently featured in the VC Star. First 5 agencies throughout the state vary greatly in how they function within their communities, and it's an interesting look inside their programs and how they navigate the expected decline in Prop. 10 funds.
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...about First 5 Kern
First 5 Kern was established in 1998 when California voters passed Proposition 10, which levied a 50-cent tax on tobacco products. Revenues generated from the tobacco tax are used to fund local programs in the areas of health and wellness, early childcare and education, and parent education and support services that promote early childhood development for children ages zero to five.

For more information on First 5 Kern and the agencies we support, please visit   and follow us on social media.
Special thanks to Vecteezy for assistance on graphics