It’s been 15 years since California voters passed Proposition 10–the California Children and Families First Act. Funded by a special tax on cigarettes, the statewide program is now known as “First 5″ to emphasize the tremendous importance of the first five years of a child’s life, when 90 percent of brain development occurs. In a presentation to the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Nevada County First 5 Director Lindsay Dunkle said 45,000 children have been reached and 10 million dollars invested in Nevada County since the program launched in 1998. One of the first grants awarded was to purchase and refit a mobile services van that is still in use today, addressing transportation barriers to care.
Click here to listen to Lindsay Dunkle
Dunkle says in 2006 the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center came on line. Another grant made it possible for women in addiction treatment at Hope House to keep their children with them. First five funds also built a Kidzone play area in Truckee and in 2003 added family resources service to Helpline. Still, Dunkle says one in five Nevada County Children live in poverty.