FYI - October 2016



First 5 Alameda County Appoints New Commissioner Scott Coffin!

First 5 Alameda County is thrilled to announce our new commissioner, Scott Coffin. Coming from the health care sector as the CEO of The Alameda Alliance for Health, Mr. Coffin has more than 20 years of leadership experience in health plan management and hospital administration. He’s spent the last eight years focused on Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal, Healthy Families, and other state-sponsored programs. Prior to being appointed CEO of the Alliance, Mr. Coffin was the Executive Director for Anthem Blue Cross overseeing the provision of services to nearly 450,000 Medi-Cal members across 18 counties.

With extensive experience working with senior leaders at state health agencies, health plans, hospitals and physician groups, he has a bird’s eye view of Alameda County’s health system. We’re elated that he’ll bring this expertise and network of connections to supporting families with young children. 

We're thrilled to have him on board!


WIC and Help Me Grow Partnership: The Results Are In!

Help Me Grow Alameda County partnered with Alameda County Public Health Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to introduce the use of developmental checklists at WIC sites in Alameda County. Looking to enhance child development and school readiness support to families, Alameda County Public Health WIC approached Help Me Grow to pilot the Developmental Milestone Checklist Project at the Eastmont WIC office in East Oakland. The project provides developmental checklists based on the Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign material from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at recertification visits for children 0-5 years of age and connects them to Help Me Grow for more support. The project also trained WIC staff on child development and how to use the campaign materials to support families.

What were the outcomes?

 Raised Awareness of the Importance of Developmental Milestones

As a result of participating in the project, parents and caregivers were more aware of developmental milestones, the importance of acting on concerns and the availability of support and resources through Help Me Grow. Almost all surveyed families (99%) felt the developmental checklists were helpful. Many described ways in which they learned something new from the checklist about their particular child’s development or about child development in general. Participants also mentioned the importance of paying attention to their child’s development and acting early.

The number of referrals to Help Me Grow from WIC offices and clients increased

During the 12 months following the pilot at the Eastmont WIC site, referrals to Help Me Grow increased by 236%. Overall, WIC staff have connected 192 families with children under five to child development care coordinators who provide child development support, information, resources, and referrals.

WIC staff are committed to the early identification of developmental concerns

All of the staff surveyed agreed that it is important to identify developmental concerns early and about 80% of staff agreed that the checklists assist in supporting families.

What’s next?

Due to the success of the Pilot at Eastmont WIC, Help Me Grow is working to expand this project to additional WIC offices in the county. Three additional Alameda County Public Health WIC offices (Telegraph, Hayward, and Fremont) have begun implementing the developmental checklist project and are distributing checklists to participating families. Other WIC sites in the county have joined in too! Now, families who visit La Clinica de la Raza WIC, East Oakland Health Center WIC, West Oakland Health Center WIC, and City of Berkeley WIC sites will receive the developmental checklist and be connected to Help Me Grow if they want further support.

Read more about the evaluation findings here.


Changes to Training @ First 5

We’re very excited about our 2016-2017 training series here at First 5. From engaging children and families around gender diversity, to our ongoing fatherhood series, there are some interesting new offerings in our lineup this year.

To defray training costs, First 5 has begun charging for day-long trainings. The charge is nominal, $30.00 for a day-long training and $5.00 per continuing education unit. We’ve already seen a drop-off in our “no-show” rate since we began charging in July 2016. We feel strongly that no one should be turned away for inability to pay, so we are providing scholarships. Please let us know if cost is a barrier to participation. Participants will receive a full refund if they cancel at least 5 business days in advance.

As part of this change, we are listing endorsement hours on our certificates of participation, so attendees who have a BA or above, or are working towards a BA, can collect hours towards becoming a Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Mental Health Practitioner. For more information on the endorsement process, go to:  http://cacenter-ecmh.org/wp/professional-development/endorsement-process/.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact Beth Hoch, Training Administrator at (510) 227-6938 or Beth.Hoch@first5alameda.org


Legislative Update: Commission Endorses Prop 55 and 56


First 5 Alameda County Commission endorses two upcoming ballot initiatives for the November election:

  • Proposition 55:  This measure extends the current income tax increases to high earners initially approved in Proposition 30 and will continue to provide about $4 billion to decrease class sizes, maintain art and music programs and avoid teacher layoffs. While funding will not directly affect First 5s, many First 5 children and families will receive additional health services and improvement to education under the measure. Furthermore, the additional funding to the K-12 system and the local discretion provides school boards with the option to expand early education programs, especially programs already embedded in certain school districts – e.g.: State Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten. Prop 55 is endorsed by the First 5 Association.

  • Proposition 56:  This measure will directly benefit First 5 in three key ways: 1) Applying the equivalency of the current tobacco excise tax to e-cigarettes; 2) Significantly bolstering Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal programs; 3) Further promoting tobacco cessation among Californians. Just as a reminder, while Prop 56 boosts tobacco tax revenue by including e-cigarettes, the newly passed rise in the smoking age to 21 will likely result in a minimal net increase in revenue for First 5 Alameda County. Prop 56 is endorsed by the First 5 Association. 

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