Strategic Planning FAQ

Vision: First 5 Ventura County envisions a future where all Ventura County children thrive in healthy supported environments.

Mission: Our mission is to promote school readiness through investments in health, early learning and family strengthening, benefitting children from prenatal to 5 years of age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is First 5 Going Away?

NO. First 5 Ventura County will remain in the community, promoting school readiness and family strengthening. However, in an effort to have the greatest impact with fewer resources, the Commission will shift strategic investments towards capacity building efforts to support and build the overall early childhood system of services.

Why is less money available for programs and services?

First 5 Ventura County is funded through the Prop 10 tax on tobacco products, which has been steadily declining as fewer people smoke. For the last few years, the Commission has augmented Prop 10 revenues through a designated “sustainability fund.” The Commission made the decision to spend the remainder of the sustainability fund in order to maintain current service levels for as many years as possible, rather than cutting program budgets every year. This fund will be exhausted by the end of FY 2018-19, which is when our current contracts end.

While the Commission’s key goals and desired outcomes for children will not change, the strategic investments to achieve our goals will be modified in alignment with funding levels. First 5 Ventura County has $11 million per year to invest between FY 2016-17 and FY 2018-19, and anticipates an investments of approximately $6 million per year for the following two years.


What are Direct Services and Systems Change?

Direct services are the services we provide to individuals and groups of children and parents, such as dental screening and treatments, preschool, and Parent and Child Together (PACT) classes.

When we talk about Systems Change or Systems Building, we are referring to supporting and building the overall early childhood system of services. For example, we have been working with our partners to increase the number of State Preschool spaces in Ventura County by providing or supporting the development of facilities. This ensures ongoing funding for early childhood education directly from the state, which is more sustainable than funding preschool spaces ourselves.

Similarly, First 5 Ventura County is working with other First 5 Commissions throughout the State to ensure that all 2018 gubernatorial candidates “choose children.” It is crucial to elect a governor who places a priority on children and early childhood education, so we are participating in advocacy days, legislative visits, and town halls to educate all candidates about the importance of early childhood.

Another example of our current systems work is in the prenatal arena. Quality, early prenatal care is important for healthy babies and healthy moms. While we do not fund prenatal care directly, we worked with Public Health and prenatal care providers to develop a website that assists providers and pregnant moms to find services and learn about nutrition and development before, during, and after pregnancy.


When will changes take place?

All of our programs, such as Neighborhoods for Learning, will have consistent funding until June 30, 2019. No major changes will be made to funding levels and programs before June 2019.

No decisions have been made. We expect the Commission to adopt a set of recommendations in Spring 2018. This gives staff over one year to adapt programs, develop new contracts, and finalize the implementation model. See the timeline below for additional details.


What direct services will remain?

Although no decisions have been made, the Commission is using the following assumption to guide decision making:

  • Focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Prioritize prenatal – first three years
  • Invest in services no one else funds
  • Invest with sufficient intensity to achieve outcomes.
  • Focus on those most likely to benefit.

As an example, there are very few Parent and Child Together classes in Ventura County, these classes serve children three and younger, and focus on prevention and early intervention, so they would be a priority for funding in the future.



Summer 2017 Process planning – timeline, engagement, etc. (internal)
July 20, 2017 First 5 VC Commission approves the process and timeline
August 2017 F5VC staff identifies key stakeholders and further developed the process.
November 2017 Funded Partners and the Commission provide feedback on potential scenarios.
December 2017 Funded Partners provide additional input on potential scenarios.
January 2018 Funded and Community Partners and the Commission examine the benefits and challenges of various scenarios.
February 2018 Staff meets with the community to begin discussing potential scenarios.
March and April 2018 Staff works with Funded Partners and the Commission to develop final recommendations.
Summer 2018 The final recommendation will be shared widely with the community.
July 2019 Changes will be implemented.



How does this impact me?

No decisions have been made. Contracts are in place with stable funding until June 30, 2019, so any potential changes will not take place until July 2019. There will be little to no changes in existing services until July 2019.

First 5 Ventura County is committed to continuing involving stakeholders throughout the process and to sharing all updates as additional information becomes available.


I currently work in a First 5 Ventura County funded program. What can I do?

Please share your ideas and suggestions! Stay engaged and attend informational meetings.  You can also provide feedback on the best way to serve children ages 0-5 and their families throughout Ventura and share positive solutions by emailing or calling the First 5 Ventura County office at (805) 648-9990.

But most of all, keep doing what you do best – supporting young children and their families in Ventura County!


Please check back for more information on our website as we will continue to update this document.

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