First5 Orange CountyStrategic Plan

2021/22 – 2025/26

Our Vision

We envision an Orange County in which “All children reach their full potential.” The groundwork for this vision to be achieved is set during a child’s earliest years. First 5 Orange County partners with many organizations working towards creating and maintaining an early childhood system that families experience as a seamless network of care.

Each child is unique, and every child’s full potential will look different. We know from years of research that a child’s experiences during their early years establish a foundation that, if strong, sets children up to achieve more in school and life, be physically healthier and more emotionally resilient, and participate more in society.

At First 5 Orange County, we aim to build bridges and remove barriers so children of every culture, color, and condition can thrive. In partnership with health, social service, family support, and education agencies in Orange County, we strive to provide programs and initiatives that build up children and encourage whole family engagement and health.

Conditions for Children to Thrive

For children to thrive, the following set of situational and environmental conditions are needed.

Conditions for Children to Thrive

These conditions reflect our conviction that the entities surrounding children (parents, caregivers, communities, and early childhood systems such as health care and child care) directly influence their development and are inextricably linked.

Early and Ongoing Health and Development

Decades of research support the benefits of early intervention for children and the importance of physical and
mental healthcare. When met, the health and development condition looks like this: children prenatal to age 5 and
their families receive support to optimize children’s physical and mental health and cognitive development; and a planned progression of quality services is available at a variety of natural interaction points with systems of care.
For example, a mother might receive breastfeeding education, a depression screening, and support if needed for a healthy pregnancy during a prenatal visit. Or a child might receive a developmental screening and their family could
be connected with services during a pediatric well visit appointment.

A Safe, Stable, and Nurturing Home

The value of nurturing environments for young children to build resiliency and protective factors is well documented. A child’s family is its first and most influential setting, and well-equipped parents and caregivers provide foundational relationships and emotional stability. When the Home condition is met, parents and caregivers have access and capability to attend to their own mental health and can provide positive, responsive parenting to the young children in their care.

Neighborhoods that Support Young Children and Families

Beyond the home, the community surrounding a child also influences their growth and development. Children thrive when they have safe places to play, access to early learning opportunities (such as child care or libraries), and other supports such as family resource centers, nearby healthcare, and access to healthy food. When this condition is met, neighborhoods have the infrastructure to support children and the capacity to sustain healthy social relationships.

Equitable Distribution of Resources

A condition for all children to achieve their full potential is a society where inclusion, diversity, and equity are a value and a priority, and policies and practices are put in place to address the structural barriers that perpetuate equity gaps and racism. When this condition is met, parents and families are put at the center and supported to co-create and advocate for solutions to the pressing issues facing them. First 5 Orange County prioritizes the county’s most vulnerable families to reduce disparities in access to equitable, quality services and positive outcomes

We believe these conditions are non-negotiable, minimum standards Orange County must meet for all its families.

First 5 Orange County’s logic for how we achieve change:

Action Plans

Action Plans

Defined goals, activities and timelines to make progress toward desired conditions.



Situational and environmental truths that must exist for a young child/family to thrive.



All children reach their full potential

Our current work

Early and ongoing health and development

  • Increase awareness and use of Kid Builders in Orange County
  • Increase well-child visits, developmental screens, and linkage to developmental services
  • Develop a countywide vision and action plan for a continuum of care for early relational health

    A safe, stable, and nurturing home

    • Invest in Orange County’s home visiting system by expanding training opportunities for the workforce, developing a coordinated entry system, co-designing a performance management plan, and leveraging regional learnings
    • Expand First 5 OC-funded services to prenatal families
    • Create a First 5 OC postnatal strategy for families
    • Increase use and integration of Family Wellness Plans in Orange County
    • Increase Medi-Cal families’ access to support from doulas in Orange County
    • Elevate importance of father engagement across First 5 OC and partner programming

    Neighborhoods that support young children and families

    • Strengthen School District data-informed engagement and relationship-building with local families and child care
    • Increase number of early care and education providers and quality of current programs
    • Increase the number of communities and families that are empowered changemakers and have access to resources
    • Provide technical assistance and capacity building for an Orange County Black Infant Health Program
    Equitable Distribution

      Equitable distribution of resources

      • Develop a performance management reporting structure for Prenatal to Three reporting agencies
      • Increase stakeholder commitment to advance policy for early childhood
      • Develop clear messaging for First 5 Orange County to cultivate and leverage partnerships and improve outcomes for young children and families
      • Implement accountability plan for First 5 OC’s equity commitment
      • Increase use and relevance of Early Development Index
      • Facilitate use of the Community Health Worker benefit to sustain Prenatal to Three services

      Measuring Impact

      We use a set of indicators to determine whether we are contributing to the achievement of the four conditions needed for children and families to thrive. Though we understand First 5 Orange County is one of many organizations influencing these metrics, they help answer the question “Is anyone better off?” because of our contribution to the work.

      Indicator Definition Current Status Trend
      Improved early childhood development Percentage of children On Track on all developmental domains of the Early Development Index



      Improved early childhood development in Engaged Neighborhoods Percentage of children On Track on all developmental domains of the Early Development Index by First 5 Orange County’s Engaged Neighborhoods Ranges between

      28% and 46%


      Varies, by neighborhood
      Improved social and emotional development in young children Percentage of children On Track in their social and emotional development based on the Early Development Index



      Increased early developmental screening Percentage of children on Medi-Cal that receive a developmental screen in their first three years



      No change
      Reduced postpartum
      depression screening and follow up
      Percentage of deliveries in which Medi-Cal members were screened for clinical depression and received follow up



      Increased early prenatal care Percentage of infants born to people whose prenatal care began during the first three months of pregnancy.


      2019 – 2021

      Reduced engagement in the child welfare system for children ages 0–3 Unduplicated count of children ages 0–3 with substantiated child abuse allegations


      per 1,000 children

      Increased licensed
      child care capacity
      Change in licensed child care capacity for children under age 5



      Reduced reliance on
      tobacco taxes
      Proportion of First 5 Orange County revenue that comes from Proposition 10 tobacco tax over time compared to overall revenue


      of all revenue
      is tobacco taxes

      For detailed information about these indicators including disparities based on race and ethnicity, visit First 5 OC Strategic Plan Progress Measures.