December 2020 | View as Webpage
Looking Back at 2020
Dear partners,

Our work is about seeing inequity in the lives of children and families and trying to do something about it. The events of 2020 have shown us the critical importance of this, now more than ever.

We have been honored to play a role in San Mateo County’s efforts to support vulnerable children, families, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and bolstered by the commitment to this work shown by all of our partners. Across the county, we have seen partners quickly change course to get critical supplies, resources, and information to families and child care providers, as well as find entirely new ways of providing their existing services.

Nowhere has the local commitment to young children been more apparent than in the effort to support childcare providers. We are proud of the work of all of the partners who advocated that CARES Act funding should be allocated to childcare providers to support this essential workforce. Read more about that effort below.

COVID-19 was not the only challenge our community faced in 2020. The movement for racial justice, triggered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, was long overdue--and there is a long road ahead. At First 5, we know that experiences of bias, social, and systemic racism begin before a child is even born and stand in the way of children reaching their full potential. We remain deeply committed to eradicating racism and ensuring equity of opportunity for all children and families.

You can learn more about what drives our work and our approaches in our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Though it has been a difficult year, there have also been many bright lights, and we look forward to continuing our important work with you. Thank you for your commitment to children and families.


Kitty Lopez
Executive Director
Taking Action for Kids
Child Care Relief Fund
Thanks to a tremendous effort by community partners and the commitment of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, $4.5 million dollars of the local CARES Act fund has been allocated to support local child care. An additional $800,000 has been donated by local cities, businesses, and philanthropies. Grants are being made to child care providers who submitted applications to the Child Care Relief Fund, which is being administered by the Community Equity Collaborative.

The community’s commitment of funds to childcare will be instrumental in stabilizing the field, but there is still more need than can be currently met. 56% of programs project a net loss of income this fall. And, if programs close due to financial hardship, there could be a total shortage of 44,000 child care slots. Join the Community Equity Collaborative in their effort to support child care providers in San Mateo County. Learn more about their work, and follow them to get involved.
COVID-19 Resources for Families
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the health, well-being, and economic status of families. To support families during the crisis, First 5 and partners created a resource sheet for families (available in English, Spanish, and Chinese) and hosted a town hall for parents to share the latest information, policies, and practices for safe child care during COVID-19. Please share with anyone who would find this information helpful.
Become ACEs Aware!
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic early experiences that can damage children’s developing brain and body and affect long-term health. However, screening for ACEs, assessing for toxic stress, and responding with evidence-based interventions can significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and families. As an ACEs Aware grantee, First 5 is working to increase the number of providers trained and offering ACEs screenings. Learn more about ACEs Aware and find out about training opportunities here.
Partner Spotlight
One of First 5’s priorities is supporting family resiliency, which is especially important now. We have many partners who are leading the way in providing meaningful supports for families--even when life during COVID-19 looks very different.

Puente de la Costa Sur’s Sueños Unidos-United Dreams Bilingual Parent Co-op provides developmentally appropriate opportunities for children and adults to experience joy, playfulness, and learning both individually and in groups. Though in-person operations had to cease at the start of COVID-19, the co-op shifted to provide its families with weekly personalized calls to assess needs and assist with any questions or concerns about their children, at-home activities for parents to do with their children, and weekly group conversations for parents to continue peer-sharing.

StarVista operates Healthy Homes, which provides essential services to families, as well as case management and support to prevent child abuse and neglect, enhance the parent-child relationship, and reduce the impact of risk factors. By closely helping one family navigate medical and social services, Healthy Homes has been able to help them successfully gain needed services, work through previous traumas, and feel less isolated. Healthy Homes has shifted to a telehealth model during COVID-19.

Peninsula Family Service offers temporary housing, services, and other supports to families, in addition to early learning programs and therapeutic interventions for children that have experienced trauma. During COVID-19, PFS has moved to a hybrid model for in-service care and distant learning care, so that children can receive services both in the classroom and at home via zoom. During the pandemic, PFS has increased supports for basic needs and has made social-emotional support and development a high level priority in its work with children.
Wrapping Up
We are excited to continue our work to support families in 2021. Stay tuned for a new website and resources for families. As always, thank you for your partnership.
First 5 San Mateo County | 1700 S. El Camino Real, Suite 405, San Mateo, CA 94402