Committed to Supporting the Healthy Development of Children Ages 0-5 and Families
A message from First 5 Sacramento’s Executive Director, Julie Gallelo

Welcome to First 5 Sacramento’s e-newsletter and Happy New Year. We kicked off 2021 with an historic February Commission meeting and a strong focus on racial equity. With the help of our newly renamed Systems Optimization and Sustainability (SOS) Committee, First 5 Commissioners unanimously approved a Resolution on Racial Equity and Social Justice. The document is a first step in the Commission’s efforts to center racial equity, diversity and inclusion into our work. It is our pledge to actively and intentionally engage in work to dismantle racism both within and outside the First 5 network.

Another highlight of the meeting was the approval of the first round of contracts to be funded for fiscal years 2021- 24. Over $17.5 million was approved to provide direct services in the following areas: school readiness, breastfeeding, quality child care, emergency child care/crisis support, developmental screenings and perinatal conditions/infant death. Learn more about the approved agencies from the February Meeting and join us on March 1st for more funding awards.
On a personal note, my word for 2021 is Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. The multitude of challenges we faced as a result of the pandemic were life altering. As parents, children, employees, friends, partners, providers and yes, even bosses, we were often overwhelmed. But we are getting through it- sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter, always with grace. I was inspired by you all in so many ways: the creativity our partners showed in transitioning to virtual services; the community collaborations that provided thousands of dollars worth of PPE to ensure childcare providers and families had essential supplies; and of course, the dedication of staff and commissioners. We are all in this together---and we are resilient!
Leading the Way
Family-Friendly Thought Leadership Podcast Series
First 5 Sacramento partnered with the Sacramento Business Journal on three podcasts for local businesses about the process they engaged in to figure out how best to navigate the new work-from-home model when it came to employees with children. These conversations cover the impact on the community, provide resources that are available for businesses and parent-employees, and share ideas on how to engage employees.
Chair Phil Serna opens the series advocating the importance of child care as an essential service, and ensuring that systems and supports are in place for families to thrive. These podcasts are a great opportunity to learn from companies who are excelling in this realm and leading the way by prioritizing children and families.
Episode 1: How RSE, a leading marketing firm, is navigating the work-from-home model as a small business. Featured speakers are Chris Holben, President and Donna Sneeringer, First 5 Commissioner.
Episode 2: This is a sequel to the first episode with RSE focusing on how this small business is staying connecting with employees and how First 5 is on the front line to help the essential childcare workforce and families.
Episode 3: In this podcast, we feature large leading business, SAFE Credit Union, and learn what steps they've taken to ensure both productivity and sensitivity among remote employees with children. First 5 shares insights into the current state of childcare and the immediate need on rebuilding this industry. Featured speakers are Colleen Nerious, executive vice president and chief HR officer and Lindsay Dunckel, First 5 Early learning director.
Celebrate Black History Month with Kids

Today's need for greater racial equity and inclusion requires kids to be exposed to diversity at a young age. Here’s some great resources:

Read this article on why it's important for kids to know about Black History Month and get tips from educators on celebrating as a family.

Learn about Black History through children's books, interviews with Black children's authors and illustrators, classroom activities, online history resources, and powerful documentaries.

Explore the children’s learning lab collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and download activity booklets.

Community Programs are Saving the Lives of African American Children
Sacramento County continues to see dramatic results in the community wide effort to reduce African American child deaths. In a recent report compiled by Applied Survey Research (ASR), the results for FY 2019-20 show progress in addressing the longstanding issue of African American children dying at twice the rate of children of other races. The top four causes of the disparity in the preventable child deaths are: perinatal conditions, infant sleep related deaths, child abuse and neglect homicides and third-party homicide.

Summary of the data:
When comparing data from 2012-14 to 2016-18, for African Americans in Sacramento County there was a:
  • 19% reduction in the infant death rate and a 33% reduction in disparity.
  • 51% reduction in the infant sleep related death rate and a 58% reduction in disparity.
  • 88% reduction in the rate of child abuse and neglect homicides for children ages 0-17 and a 95% reduction in disparity.

This collective impact effort includes a deep commitment from the following community organizations: Her Health First; Birth and Beyond Family Resource Centers; Child Abuse Prevention Council; Runyon Saltzman; Sierra Health Foundation and the Black Child Legacy Campaign; as well as the following Sacramento County Departments: First 5 Sacramento; Public Health; Child, Family and Adult Services; Human Assistance and Probation.

Update: COVID-19 Supplies Distribution 

Over the last several months First 5 California has provided $5 million in PPE supplies statewide with the help of SupplyBank.Org, including thousands supplies distributed throughout Sacramento County.

On January 23, in collaboration with Child Action, Inc., approximately 350 child care providers participating in a drive-through event to pick up free essential supplies including infra-red thermometers, hand sanitizer, adult and child face masks, and alcohol wipes. This was the 14th drive-thru event Child Action, Inc. has organized since the pandemic hit. WATCH KCRA Channel 3 story.

If you are a child care provider in Sacramento County in need of support, supplies or information, please contact Julie Smith at Child Action, Inc.
2750 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 330
Sacramento​, CA 95833
Phone: (916) 876-5865
Fax: (916) 876-5877