What We Do
We are actively pushing to break down systemic barriers that prevent families from receiving the resources they need to thrive. We invite all childhood systems of care to the table to find ways we can work together to create a seamless connection to services for families. This allows parents and caregivers to spend their time doing the most important work — being with their children — and less time jumping through bureaucratic hoops.
First 5 Orange County cares about the entire family, and we know well the crucial role caregivers play, especially during the early years of child development. We fund programs that provide access to resources including early childhood and parent education, food and shelter, and mental health and wellness.
We are champions for equity, supporting strategic initiatives and programs that emphasize Orange County’s most vulnerable children and their families, particularly those in difficult socioeconomic circumstances experiencing stressors such as job instability, financial and housing insecurity that can affect children’s emotional and physical development. We elevate a strengths-based approach in the community, recognizing the strengths that parents and caregivers bring to their families and building upon those as we work together to support needs and break down barriers.
Why Our Work is Important
80% of a child’s brain is formed by age 3 and 90% by age 5
It is impossible to overstate the importance of the first five years of a child’s life.
Their brain grows at an extraordinary pace, creating – moment by moment, experience by experience – the foundation from which they learn, develop social skills, establish relationships, and mature emotionally. They learn about the world, themselves, and those around them faster during this period than at any other time in their lives.
In fact, 80 percent of a child’s brain is formed by age 3 and 90 percent by age 5, making prevention activities, and intervention as early as possible, of vital importance.
In other words, the first five years of a child’s life play an outsized role in determining their future health, happiness, relationships, success in school and in life overall.
The urgency for action is undeniable: babies can’t wait.