First 5 Ventura County Neighborhoods for Learning Announcement

October 18, 2018

Since our inception nearly 20 years ago, First 5 Ventura County (F5VC) Neighborhoods for Learning (NfLs) have been a cornerstone in the community, providing early childhood education, health and family support services. Each of you has played a vital role in ensuring that families have the support they need to give their young children prenatal to age 5 a strong foundation for success in school and life.

With the decline in Prop 10 tobacco tax revenues and the depletion of our sustainability fund which helped to mitigate the decline in tax revenues, our F5VC Commission has carefully contemplated how to best utilize its limited funds. The Commission recently approved a 7-year plan that redesigns the place-based services, relies on sustainable investments and innovative partnerships with communities, and focuses on systems building approaches.  We recognize that we must work differently moving forward to achieve maximum impact with limited dollars.

Today, I am pleased to announce our new partnership with Interface Children & Family Services (ICFS) to implement the redesigned place-based Neighborhoods for Learning initiative. Beginning with FY 2019-20, ICFS will serve the entire county, leveraging the important work of NfLs, and building on it with systems approaches and continuous quality improvement strategies.

ICFS and F5VC staff deeply honor the long-standing history of our NfLs and we are committed to continue delivering Parent and Child Together and family support services throughout the county and in neighborhoods where our most vulnerable families and young children reside. Together with ICFS, we will be engaging all of you to help us make thoughtful, strategic decisions about how to best transition resources, knowledge and partnerships that promote the optimal health and well-being of Ventura County’s children and families.

We value the current talent and capacity of all of our funded partners’ staff. Retaining talent will be a top priority in our transition to the new implementation model. Developing a detailed transition plan with timelines for recruitment of staff will be of utmost importance over the next few months. As these transitions take place, we know that you will continue to keep the well-being of children and families front and center in your work over these next weeks and months. And please remember that these changes to Neighborhoods for Learning contracts will not go into effect until July 1, 2019.

I know that this has been a difficult process for everyone as we worked to find the most sustainable path forward. I understand there are many questions about these changes and I remain committed to ongoing transparent communication! We will continue to keep staff, partners, parents, and community members informed. F5VC is planning parent information sessions as well as producing bilingual materials that funded partners can provide to parents.

In the meantime, we ask that you direct all questions and concerns (from staff or families) to the contact information below so that messaging remains consistent. Speaking with a unified voice will greatly help reduce confusion with the families we serve during this transition! We also invite funded partner staff to join us for upcoming “Coffee and Conversations” to share suggestions and ask questions.

I am humbled by and grateful for your dedication and the amazing work you do every day to improve the lives of young children and their families! On behalf of the Commission, children and families – my sincerest thank you!


Petra Puls, Executive Director, FIRST 5 Ventura California

Click here to view a PDF version of this announcement

Click here to view our Q&A handout regarding this announcement (Updated 10.26.18)

Parents, business, and community leaders agree: investing in local programs and children is key to their future and our overall economic vitality!

Economic research shows that early investment in children can produce lifelong dividends to those children and to the taxpayers supporting those investments. That is why the First 5 Ventura County Commission has developed a new Long-Term Financial Plan that will continue to provide thoughtful programs, resources and community partnerships to support early childhood development.

Voters made kids a priority in 1998 by passing Proposition 10, and since then First 5 Ventura County (F5VC) has invested more than $195 million in our communities to ensure our county’s youngest children and families have the best start in life possible. We have piloted new programs and built comprehensive systems of care for children ages prenatal-5 throughout our county. We will continue to provide valuable programs, resources and community partnerships to support early childhood development in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Statewide First 5 funding is declining due to lower tobacco sales. By 2020, First 5 funding is expected to decrease by 48% from its peak.  Despite declining revenue, First 5s are more critical than ever, linking programs across health, learning, and family support to build comprehensive systems of care. Even with upcoming planned fund reductions, we will continue to impact forever the lives of VC children and our local economy in the most positive way – our youth’s future.

After an in-depth review of current investments, services, innovative outcomes, and stakeholder survey responses, the F5VC Commission voted on April 26, 2018 to adopt a long-term financial plan that will continue a substantial investment in early childhood education: $6.5 million in Fiscal Years 2019-21, $5.3 million in Fiscal Years 2021-26.

The new Long-Term Financial Plan allocates $2.9 million annually for Parent and Child Together (PACT) and Family Support Services for FY 2019-26, and will maintain an annual investment of approximately $1 million in preschool in FY 2019-21.

In June of 2018, the F5VC Commission adopted an implementation model for future programming. First 5 Ventura is working diligently with community partners to implement this model beginning on July 1, 2019. No changes will be made to First 5 programs until July 1, 2019. By working together we can stretch each dollar a little further and build creative solutions to ensure strong futures for Ventura County children, families and communities. For more information on the implementation model as well as future funding please see the FAQs below.

We are committed to being inclusive and transparent throughout this process by providing tools and resources including:

  • A dedicated webpage: To keep our partners, staff, and families updated with the latest and most relevant information, and resources.
  • Email updates: Please send your preferred email address to assistant@first5ventura.org.
  • Coffee and Conversations: Please join us on a Friday from 9 – 10:30 a.m. to share suggestions with and ask questions of Executive Director Petra Puls email assistant@first5ventura.org for details.
  • All-staff meeting/community forum: In the Fall, we will hold an open meeting to answer all questions, and provide information and resources for partners and parents.

We are continually grateful for all of our partners, staff, and parents. Thank you for your continued input and collaboration to ensure F5VC continues our mission to promote school readiness through investments in health, early learning and family strengthening.

Feedback from All-Staff Meeting

Future Funding Frequently Asked Questions

Implementation Model Frequently Asked Questions

Stay Informed! Email assistant@first5ventura.org to join our mailing list, provide comments, or ask questions.