A Bit Better
News From First 5 Santa Cruz County
Advocacy Efforts Elevate the Importance of Early Childhood Issues and Parent Voices
During these past few weeks of May, the Central Coast Early Childhood Advocacy Network (CCECAN) virtually hosted several local legislators to join in the conversation about current issues directly affecting families with young children. Legislators and their staff had the opportunity to hear from community voices including parents and partners advocating for CCECAN's priorities. These priorities include stabilizing and strengthening child care and early childhood systems, ensuring that schools safely reopen, expanding access to mental health services and increasing housing and financial stability. Lizeth Santana, a Live Oak Cradle to Career parent leader, shared during one recent meeting that “I like to find spaces where we can connect with stories, that's where I realize that we all have challenges on the path of motherhood. I believe that these spaces, rather than giving us tools, connects us with a support network that strengthens us, for me that is the most gratifying."

The CCECAN partners from the counties of Monterey, Santa Benito and Santa Cruz represent over 94,000 young children. First 5 Santa Cruz County is a founding member of the network that was formed in early 2018 to help coordinate regional efforts and amplify community voice in support of just and equitable policies and systems for all children and families on the Central Coast. “What started as a nascent idea to collaborate regionally on policy advocacy for young children and families, has blossomed into an amazing partnership of parents and early childhood systems leaders acting collectively in the interest of young children and families in our region” said David Brody, Executive Director of First 5 Santa Cruz County.

Additional advocacy efforts took place statewide in late April when First 5 Santa Cruz County joined other First 5's from across the state on our annual Advocacy Day to raise awareness with legislators about First 5's current work and priorities. These include supporting families to be resilient, access to quality early learning, developmental screenings and comprehensive health care coordination, and the sustainability and scale of systems and services for children and families. Legislative visits specifically addressed the needs for early childhood mental health and trauma support, health equity for young children and mothers, the need for increased investment in child care, and equitable financial stability policies. To learn more about First 5's policy work and priorities click here for the First 5 Policy Agenda flyer.
Santa Cruz County ACEs Network: Getting to Know Our Network on June 9th
Join us for the sixth – and final – session of the Santa Cruz County (SCC) ACEs Network of Care Learning Series, Getting to Know Our Network, co-hosted by First 5 Santa Cruz County and CORE Investments Santa Cruz County.

Attend this virtual, bilingual session to:
  • Understand the countywide vision for – and your part in – creating a “Network of Care” that prevents, identifies, treats, and heals Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and builds community resilience.

  • Learn about the role of health clinics in the Network of Care, the steps they’re taking to implement ACEs screenings, and how they connect people to resources that “buffer,” or reduce, the effects of ACEs and toxic stress.

  • Learn about the role of community-based organizations in the Network of Care, how they provide trauma-informed “buffering services” that foster healing and resilience, and how they connect people to other resources in the Network of Care.

  • Share your ideas about how Santa Cruz County’s Network of Care can continue to provide a space to learn together, center community voice and leadership, and advance racial equity through antiracist practices and policies.
Child Care Providers Share Why They are Getting Vaccinated in New Video Series
“I’m getting vaccinated so I can invite families back into the classroom,” says preschool provider Desiray Taylor. Over the past year, child care providers have put their lives on the line for the children and families they serve. Now, all individuals ages 12 and older in California are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including essential workers like early care and education providers. It’s normal to be nervous about a new vaccine, but all of the vaccinations available are safe and effective at preventing serious illness —and getting vaccinated can help you and your community return to normal life. Child care providers from around the state, like Desiray, share why they got vaccinated in a new series of videos from First 5 Association and First 5 California. They share reasons like protecting their community, keeping their students and families safe, and helping to end the pandemic.
Click here to watch the videos and hear their stories.

For more information on where to get vaccinated visit:
Community Announcements
Local Pediatric Dental Appointments Available
There are pediatric dental appointment openings at local clinics for children 0 to 3. Please check out this flyer for more information about the importance of bringing young children in to have regular dental checkups.
Local Assistance Available to Help with Health Insurance and CalFresh Applications
Having access to health insurance and food for our families is of vital importance. If you, a family member, friend or neighbor need help completing or renewing an application to county or state health insurance programs, Certified Application Assistors can answer your questions and offer free application assistance. Call an Application Assistor directly at any of the agencies listed on this flyer for more information.
Community Resources
Parenting and Caregiver Resources

  • From the National Institute of Mental Health - Flyers on Stress and Anxiety in English and Spanish
If you are in need of child care,
please call the Child Development Resource Center
COVID-19 Related Community Resources

  • Abriendo Puertas Shares Multi-Lingual COVID-19 Resources for Families: Website

  • Mental Health Tips & Local Resources for COVID-19 – ENGLISH & SPANISH  

This newsletter is a collaborative effort of First 5 Santa Cruz County staff.

PO Box 1457 Capitola, CA 95010

Tel: 831-465-2217 Fax: 831-479-5477