First 5 of Santa Barbara County’s mission is to help all children prepare for kindergarten by supporting families to be healthy and strong and by enhancing the availability of high quality childcare and preschool. Our resources are directed towards specific Focus Areas and strategies as guided by our 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.
We are committed to evaluating and reporting on the results of our investments. Funded agencies collect data throughout the year and report their outcomes to First 5. UC Santa Barbara’s Graduate School of Education serves as First 5’s independent, third-party evaluator. Links below provide a snapshot of where we are investing and the impact those investments are having. For more information, please see our in-depth 2014-15 First 5 Evaluation Report which is produced by UCSB and reviewed by the Commission. Additional reports are available.
A few key impacts in each of our investment areas:
- 40 children and 204 parents received case management services.
- There were fewer subsequent referrals for suspected child abuse reports among families in the Front Porch Differential Response (DR) program. Information obtained from Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services (CWS) showed a drop in the rate of subsequent substantiated referrals for child abuse within three months of Front Porch referral. Re-referral decreased from 7% in FY 2008-2009 to 0.3% in FY 2014-2015 for families that participated in Front Porch and received services.
Referral to Services with Follow-Up
- 1,052 individual and aggregate children and 8,711 individual and aggregate parents received family support referrals, linkages, and follow-up.
- 2,539 referrals to community-based services were made by funded partners to address a variety of family and child needs. Most of the referrals made addressed the area of concrete support, which includes referrals concerning basic needs, childcare, education, job training, financial assistance, or health and wellness. The majority of children and families (84%) had successful referral outcomes.
- 4 children and 263 parents received parent education and support services. Parents receiving services from funded partners showed statistically significant improvements in their parenting skills, from 86% Safe/Self-Sufficient in parenting at intake to 96% at follow-up.
- At intake, 69% of parents reported strengths in nurturing and attachment. By follow-up, 83% were reporting strengths. In terms of parenting knowledge, parents reported more strengths in the areas of knowing what to do as a parent, knowing how to help their child learn, and praising their child when he/she behaves well.
- As an example of parent education funded, THRIVE Guadalupe Family Resource Center (FRC) has long been a leader in strengthening their community to address its own needs. They continued to build parent leadership in the community through their “Community Changers” campaign, which has grown from four parents in 2011 to 19 parents this year, and is overall more active and engaged. This led to the development of a new staff position of Parent Engagement Coordinator. They continued efforts that began in previous years through the Supporting Father Involvement Initiative. Now, 40% of their staff are male, and procedures have been changed to invite fathers to participate in home visits and other program activities.
Child and Maternal Health Access
- 931 children and 58 parents received child and maternal health access services.
- Newborn home visiting nurses identified needs in the families they served and provided intervention or referrals to meet these needs. The majority of mothers who received newborn home visiting services were breastfeeding (80%), and most infants were free of tobacco exposure (94%) and had their nutritional needs met (68%), as monitored by the nurses.
- First 5 funding provided health insurance and health care access to just over 100 children age 0-5 who otherwise would be without coverage.
Preschool and Child Care
- First 5-funded preschool and child care quality improvement programs served at least 125 family child care and center programs, improving the quality of care for more than 5,000 children.
- Staff from First 5 and partner agencies worked with 124 family child care and center providers participating in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) on improving the quality of care and child outcomes as part of a state-wide effort. Through the QRIS, programs are rated on 7 elements of quality, including child assessments and screenings, staff education environment and teacher-child interactions. Santa Barbara County is unique in that it requires national accreditation to achieve a top rating. Support provided to programs included technical assistance, trainings, organizing assessments of multiple quality domains, and offering provider education.
- 32% of preschool centers in Santa Barbara County are now Nationally Accredited compared to only 10% in California and 6% nationally. The number of accredited childcare centers in Santa Barbara County reached an all-time high of 48, and the number of accredited family childcare homes doubled (8). 88 programs received accreditation facilitation to help them reach their accreditation goal.
- A total of 1,604 children are now receiving developmental screenings in programs that did not conduct screenings prior to participation in QRIS.
- 820 Early Childhood Education class sessions were held.
- 120 providers received CARES Plus stipends as part of a statewide professional development program for early educators. The program is designed to improve the quality of early learning programs by supporting providers to attain AA and BA degrees, and to participate in specialized training. Support included 285 advising sessions, training, permit assistance and professional development technical assistance. The program focuses on increasing teacher skills, effectiveness, education, and retention. The main objectives are to improve both the quality of early learning programs, and ultimately, young children’s learning and developmental outcomes.
- 16 providers received bachelor’s degree scholarships through a partnership with a local scholarship foundation
- The percentage of early care educators at childcare centers with a bachelor’s degree increased slightly to 34% and at family childcare homes has remained approximately the same, around 10%, over the past three years.
Spaces and Increasing Parent Access
- More than $300,000 was leveraged through matching grants from First 5 to create new child care spaces.
- 59 children were served through opening or saving infant/toddler and preschool enrollment spaces in the communities of Carpinteria, Isla Vista, and Santa Maria as a result of the Preschool and Childcare Expansion Project.
Systems Change and Capacity Building
One-year capacity-building grants assisted 4 organizations in achieving the following outcomes:
- The 2-1-1 Helpline connects individuals to health and human service information to improve the health and well-being of the people residing in Santa Barbara County. In FY 2014-2015, the 2-1-1 Helpline served 4,052 parents and family members and 1,674 providers. In addition, 32 new agencies were added to the 2-1-1 Helpline central registry and database.
- Santa Barbara County Education Office’s implementation of Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) strategies sought to improve family functioning by building capacity in Santa Barbara County to disseminate strategies to promote the social-emotional development and school readiness of children 0-5 years old. Two coaches were trained in the CSEFEL framework and can now deliver workshops and provide coaching to preschool teachers. In FY 2014-2015, SBCEO provided CSEFEL training and fieldwork to 50 providers. A library of materials was also purchased to be a resource for coaches to use with the parents of at-risk children.
- Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Health Linkages Program expanded core training to improve participation in the Santa Barbara County Promotores Network, successfully providing training to 46 Promotores (trained Latino/a community health advocates). Four Promotores gained employment due to the training efforts of this grant. In addition, a Lead Promotor/a position was funded to furnish the necessary structure and support of the countywide Promotores Network.
- The Children’s Oral Health Collaborative sponsored the Children’s Oral Health Summit, which provided information to health professionals on local dental disease statistics and promising practices. Trainings and necessary supplies to conduct fluoride varnish application were provided and distributed to dental offices. Overall, the Oral Health Collaborative provided dental provider support to 15 providers and 6 programs as well as distributed a dental provider list.
- Funded partners used First 5 funding to leverage more than $1.2 million from other sources.
- 1,090 active members joined First 5 Santa Barbara County, 781 being parents of 0-5 year olds. Members receive regular messages to help parents play their key role as their child’s first teacher and as the driving force in building their child’s brain. We are now able to share information directly with these parents in their preferred language about how they can best support their child’s brain and social-emotional development. Providers and community members also benefit from targeted child development information.
- $15,150 in co-sponsorships to 14 organizations funded events and training that benefitted 5,000 community members, parents, providers, and stakeholders.