June 2016 

Spotlight on a Grantee: Our Family Coalition


In the wake of the hate-based gun violence in Orlando, Our Family Coalition stands against fear and for love. Within days of the Orlando tragedy, Our Family Coalition (OFC) mobilized to support families. Within days, OFC shared resources specifically aimed at helping parents talk to their kids about tragedy. They also co-hosted a webinar with a therapist about how to process the tragic news.. During a month that is already packed with family pride activities and celebrations, OFC knew that supporting families through this scary time was absolutely essential. OFC brings a unique voice of families to the LGBTQ movement. OFC has two decades of providing family support programs to young children and their LGBTQ parents. They work on a wide range of pressing issues, from advocating for inclusive schools to family law, but outside of their work with local, state and national coalitions, they directly support families with young children through programs that provide opportunities to build protective factors.

One of the OFC programs that First 5 Alameda funds is parent-child interactive playgroups for LGBTQ parents/caregivers and their children. In these gatherings, parents and caregivers bolster their children’s social, emotional and developmental well-being through structured activities and family bonding. But don’t be fooled that this group is just fun and games. “It’s so much more than play,” says OFC's Family Programs Coordinator, Yusni Bakar. “Our programs improve child social-emotional development, strengthen family resilience and reduce isolation. Families deepen bonds with their children, develop skills that promote healthy child development, broaden social connections, get access to community resources, and cultivate leadership skills. The strength parents get from getting the message ‘It’s OK—there’s nothing wrong with my family’ builds a strong foundation of resilience. They feel comfortable, accepted and proud.” 

Nowhere but at OFC can families gather in a context where they are the norm, rather than the exception.  As the only agency designed to serve children with LGBTQ parents in Alameda County, OFC is recognized as an integral element of the county’s child and family organizations. Kudos to Our Family Coalition for doing such important work supporting the diverse families in Alameda County and Happy Pride!

Check out our Facebook album from one of the playgroups and see how you can get involved.


Legislative Update: Newly Approved State Budget

Great news! Governor Brown signed the 2016-17 California state budget which expands early childhood opportunities and stabilizes the infrastructure of early education and care programs. The new budget investments include $100 million in 2016-17, and will grow to approximately $500 million annually in 2019-20. The budget:

  • Raises reimbursement rates for early childhood providers, in part to address the minimum wage increase, so they can cover the cost of their critical services
  • Adds nearly 9,000 preschool slots over four years
  • Prioritizes federal quality dollars to support the Quality Rating and Improvement System
  • End the “maximum family grant,” which prevented families from receiving extra welfare assistance if they had a new child while already receiving benefits.   Removing the restriction would help an estimated 130,000 children in 95,000 families with an extra $136 per child, per month.

The budget deal does not include the Governor’s proposal to combine early childhood program funding into a block grant and eliminate transitional kindergarten, a proposal which was not supported by the early childhood community and that the Legislature rejected.   This budget better positions California to ensure more young children have high-quality early learning options that are critical to their success. In addition, a Blue Ribbon Commission proposed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon will be established to develop an action plan for providing and improving quality early education and care. The budget was a big win for the cross-sector early childhood advocates, the Legislature, Women’s Caucus, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Upcoming Summer Training Series @ First 5

Prenatal Opiate Use and Its Impact on Attachment

Thursday, July 7, 9:00am - 3:00pm
Presenter: Amanda Hopping-Winn, MSW

Join us as we discuss the nationwide prenatal opiate use epidemic and its influence on the caregiver-child relationship. Participants will learn the specific effects of opiates on both mother and fetus, as well as gain a better understanding of neonatal abstinence syndrome. Most importantly, the training will provide examples of interventions that clinicians can use to promote a more positive caregiver-child attachment with opiate-exposed newborns and young children. Register: www.PrenatalOpiateUse.Eventbrite.com


Father Focused Series: Personal Safety and Law Enforcement Encounters

Friday, July 15, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Presenters: Mr. Reggie Lyles and Dr. Javon Johnson

With the recent local and national events between law enforcement and young men of color, Training@First 5 and Fathers Corps have invited Reggie Lyles, Safety Advisor to former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, to discuss the current social and political landscape that impacts the fathers we serve. Mr. Lyles will present statistics on officer involved shootings and strategies for navigating encounters with law enforcement. In addition, Dr. Javon Johnson, Professor at San Francisco State University, will provide inspired spoken word pieces on the subject of race, gender and law enforcement. Register: www.First5Alameda.org/Events-Training

Introduction to the Transdisciplinary ECMH Endorsement Process

Friday, July 22, 9:00am - 12:00pm

Presenter: Julie Kurtz, LMFT

Starting July 1, 2016, where possible, Training@First5’s certificates will include hours received toward an Early Childhood Mental Health endorsement. The endorsement process establishes a standard of excellence that professionals with a bachelor’s degree and higher can use to document their expertise, employers can use for hiring purposes and consumers can use to choose a provider. At this training with Julie Kurtz, one of the founders of the Santa Clara Infant Family Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program, participants will learn about the knowledge, skills, and reflective practice requirements outlined in the California Training Guidelines and Personnel Competencies for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health. The categories for endorsement are: 

  • Transdisciplinary Mental Health Practitioner (TMHP)
  • Mental Health Specialist (MHS)
  • Reflective Practice Facilitators I (RPF I) and Reflective Practice Facilitators II (RPF II)
  • Reflective Practice Facilitator Mentor (RPFM)

Register: www.First5Alameda.org/Events-Training


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