First 5 launches new tool to ensure California’s babies and young children get the services they need and deserve

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On Monday, Feb. 4 First 5 Association of California and Children’s Data Network (CDN) launched a new tool to help First 5 Commissions, service providers, policymakers, and other public agencies most effectively support children and families, and direct resources to children and families in greatest need.

The California Strong Start Index, funded by a grant from Heising-Simons Foundation, uses information collected at birth to understand the conditions into which California’s babies are born in a given neighborhood, county, or region. The index focuses on assets that promote resilience, and shows the wide variability in access to these resources among the half a million babies born in California each year.

First 5 Yolo, as the local member of the First 5 Association, is excited to use this tool to more effectively advocate for services and supports that help kids in Yolo County thrive. According to Executive Director Gina Daleiden, “The Strong Start Index provides current and reliable data focused on the health, safety, and early development of our youngest children. This data can help us recognize the connections across agencies providing services to children and families as we open a wider conversation about relative need, targeting of services, and more effective programs.”  Added Yolo County Supervisor and First 5 Yolo Commission Chair Jim Provenza, “Ultimately, First 5 Yolo can use this tool to inform the prioritization of our investments and the leveraging of services more equitably and earlier in life to create the most effective impact.”

Visit strongstartindex.org to see how babies are faring in Yolo County and how you can use the Strong Start Index to join First 5 in advocating for children and families.

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