Newsletter November – December 2012

First 5 San Diego

First 5 Commission of San Diego
Supervisor Bill Horn, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice-Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Kim Medeiros The Director’s Corner
Kim Medeiros

Ask any parent, nothing compares to the joy of watching your baby or toddler experience and react to the world around them.  From giggling when you play a game of peek-a-boo to dancing when you sing a song, these responses are the most cherished moments of parenthood.   Most importantly, they can serve as developmental milestones, or markers used to measure your child’s physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and creative growth.  Studies show 90% of a child’s brain develops during the first five years of life.  With knowledge and understanding of these milestones during these early years, parents can have a meaningful impact on their child’s development so they grow up healthy and able to succeed.

Here are some key developmental milestones to look out for and simple ways you can encourage your child’s development at each stage:

  • Birth – 1 year
    Your baby is learning their place in this world and developing his or her sense of security. Loving and nurturing your child during this period is the most important thing to focus on. In addition, your baby is developing critical communication skills.  Take this time to talk to your child and sing to them. We encourage parents to read aloud to their child every day for 20 minutes starting at birth. Reading aloud helps your baby develop crucial language and critical thinking skills.
  • 1-3 years
    During this stage, your child is growing into his or her independence. Give your child the freedom to explore. Practice skills with them like brushing teeth, stacking blocks, and catching and throwing the ball.  Also, children at this stage may begin to test their boundaries.  Parents are encouraged to set limits on their child’s behavior and be realistic with their expectations. Use gentle discipline with your child to help them learn self-control.
  • 3-5 years
    By now, your child has developed or is developing social skills. Give your child the chance to meet and play with other children. Take your child to the park or invite a friend over. Children learn from each other through play.

Remember, all children grow and develop at different rates.  However, by paying attention to your child’s developmental milestones, parents are able to easily identify any delays so they can get treatment as soon as possible.  If you are concerned about your child’s development, First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services (HDS) offers no cost developmental and behavioral checkups throughout the region.  HDS is a key initiative that supports the County of San Diego’s Live Well, San Diego! plan to achieve a region that is healthy, safe and thriving.  To find a location near you, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5.  For a complete list of developmental milestones, visit

We are pleased to launch our Developmental Milestones Campaign. Watch our latest Public Service Announcement (PSA), encouraging parents to embrace this time of growth and exploration.

Click to Play

Happy Holidays from the First 5 San Diego family to yours!

Kim Medeiros

The Gift of Spending Quality Time with Your Child
The Gift of Spending Quality Time with Your Child

The holiday season is fast approaching!  This season, as you consider gifts for your children, First 5 San Diego encourages parents and caregivers to use this time to give them the gift of quality time.  First 5 San Diego offers the following tips to help parents show their children how special they are:

  • Share stories.  Children love stories, real or make-believe. Parents can share their own childhood holiday stories or makeup stories that evoke the magical feelings of the season. 
  • Prepare holiday meals together.  As you prepare your holiday meals, make preparation of the meal a family affair.  Children can be involved by helping to select the ingredients or setting the table.
  • Embrace holiday music. Music promotes learning, physical fitness, and family bonding.  Holiday music at home creates a positive atmosphere. Play your favorite holiday music and sing along and dance with your child.

These easy and fun activities promote quality time together, which helps your child develop strong self-esteem and provides them with early learning experiences that help prepare them for school.  Many holiday seasons will come and go, but your child’s memories of growing up feeling loved will last a lifetime.

First 5 San Diego Serves One in Five Children Ages 0 through 5 in County
First 5 San Diego Serves One in Five Children Ages 0 through 5 in County

First 5 San Diego is pleased to release its FY 2011-12 Annual Report. The report summarizes First 5 San Diego’s key achievements.  With an investment of $45.5 million in direct services for more than 85,000 children, parents, and providers, First 5 San Diego served more than one in five of San Diego County’s children ages 0 through 5.

“This extraordinary impact reflects the significance of First 5 dollars in our region,” said Supervisor Bill Horn, chair of the First 5 Commission of San Diego.

First 5 San Diego focuses on four program areas, with a high priority on investments that yield the greatest impact.  Some highlights of the report include:

Health – First 5 San Diego programs provided developmental screenings to more than 13,500 children and behavioral screenings to nearly 6,000 children.  Over 80% of children receiving treatment for developmental and behavioral delays showed improvement.  More than 25,000 children and 5,700 pregnant women received oral health screenings. More than 90% of patients with dental disease received treatment.  First 5 San Diego helped enroll more than 15,000 uninsured pregnant women and children.

Learning – First 5 San Diego completed the Preschool for All (PFA) Demonstration Project, which served as the basis for the new First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative. More than 7,500 children benefitted from a high-quality early childhood education across all programs.  Over 90% of PFA classrooms improved in quality.

Family – Over 5,000 parents attended parent education classes.  82% of these parents reported they now know more about their child’s development.

Community – First 5 San Diego reached more than 20,450 families through community events.  First 5 San Diego also funded a therapeutic child development center for homeless families and a child development center for military families.

“These positive outcomes support the key components of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative,” said Nick Macchione, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency director and First 5 Commissioner.  “We are making sure children throughout our region are healthy, safe, and thriving.”

The First 5 Commission was established in 1999 to oversee funding from Proposition 10, a tobacco tax initiative enacted to ensure all children ages 0 through 5 develop properly so they enter school ready to succeed.

“As we move forward, leveraging funds and resources will be critical to extending the impact of our investments for young children and their families,” said Kimberly Medeiros, executive director of First 5 San Diego.

To find First 5 San Diego’s FY 2011-12 Annual Report visit

County’s Live Well, San Diego! Plan Builds Momentum
County’s Live Well, San Diego! Plan Builds Momentum

Two years ago, the County launched Live Well, San Diego!, a long-term plan to improve the health and well-being of all San Diego County residents.  A report on the impact of the plan’s first phase, “Building Better Health”, during its second year indicates that the County – together with a wide range of community partners – is successfully building better health locally.

Live Well, San Diego! has made considerable progress and together we are building momentum to bring about positive change for residents,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, chair of the County of San Diego’s Board of Supervisors.

Key accomplishments include the following:

  • More than 30,000 low-income residents were linked to medical and mental health services through the County’s Low-Income Health Program
  • The San Diego County Library hosted more than 2,000 health and fitness programs
  • Eight school districts increased vigorous physical activity in Physical Education classes and revised their school menus to offer healthier choices
  • County Parks and Recreation coordinated more than 150 different programs for physical activity and outdoor recreation including dance, sports leagues, camps, and healthy living workshops with 7,000 youth participating
  • More than 4,500 calls to the County’s Courage to Call 24/7 Peer Support Line where veterans, military and their families received assistance with basic needs and other support services

The ultimate goal of Live Well, San Diego! is to achieve healthy, safe, and thriving communities throughout the region.  In October 2012, the County adopted a plan for its second phase, “Living Safely”.  The plan defines safety for San Diegans and how the county will achieve communities where 1.) Residents are protected from crime or abuse 2.) Neighborhoods are safe to work and 3.) Communities are resilient to disasters and emergencies.

Since the inception of Live Well, San Diego!, First 5 San Diego has been a key partner in implementing the plan for the County’s youngest residents.  To view the 2011-2012 Live Well, San Diego! Building Better Health report and the complete plan of Living Safely, visit here.

Check out these videos:


CHIP Honors Outstanding Community Partners
CHIP Honors Outstanding Community Partners
2012 Honorees Connected to First 5 San Diego

On November 14, 2012, Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) held its 2nd annual Crew Rendezvous event at Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, California.  The event celebrated the 13th class of Outstanding Community Partner awardees — those who go above and beyond to volunteer their time, contribute their ideas and expertise, and provide leadership.

Among the recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Community Partners Award was Carol Skiljan, Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, for her leadership on CHIP’s Suicide Prevention Committee.  She was recognized as a true champion for suicide prevention and youth services in San Diego.  Skiljan is the Vice Chair of the First 5 Commission of San Diego.  The award was also given to Debbie Macdonald, YMCA Childcare Resource Service.  YMCA Childcare Resource Service is an affiliate of First 5 San Diego’s Quality Preschool Initiative.  CHIP presented the Lighthouse Award to 2-1-1 San Diego, celebrating a visionary leader inspiring innovation in health.

CHIP is a collaboration of San Diego health care systems, hospitals, community clinics, insurers, physicians, universities, community-based organizations and the County of San Diego who are dedicated to a common vision. For more information, visit

First 5 San Diego Reaches Out to New Military Parents
Operation Parenthood, Camp Pendleton, Calif., October 31, 2012

First 5 San Diego Reaches Out to New Military Parents
“Ten Things Every Child Needs” Exhibit

First 5 San Diego Reaches Out to New Military Parents

First 5 San Diego partnered with the Camp Pendleton New Parent Support Program for “Operation Parenthood:  A Child’s First Years Matter”.  Military parents with children ages 4 and under attended the parenting conference events held on September 10, 2012 and October 31, 2012.

Workshops offered a wide range of topics from postpartum depression prevention, shaken baby prevention, and health and safety.  First 5 San Diego provided photos for an educational exhibit titled, “Ten Things Every Child Needs”.  First 5 staff was on hand at the October 31 event, offering parents information about First 5 programs and services and other local resources available in the community. 

More than 70,000 marines and their families reside at Camp Pendleton.  To find out more about Camp Pendleton’s Marine and Family Programs, visit

First 5 San Diego Joins in National Training Event
First 5 San Diego Joins in National Training Event

First 5 San Diego is pleased to participate and sponsor ZERO TO THREE’s National Training Institute (NTI) 2012:  Leading-Edge Early Childhood Science, Policy, and Practice to be held November 28, 2012 through December 1, 2012 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE in Downtown Los Angeles.  Now in its 27th year, the interactive multidisciplinary training event  provides the latest research, tools, and policy topics for early childhood development professionals working with infants and toddlers.

Over 80 breakout sessions will cover topics including Infant Mental Health, Early Development and Learning, Early Intervention, Program Design and Leadership, and Policy.  More than 75 agencies, exhibits, and vendors will offer the newest information and most innovative products and educational services.  Keynote speaker Dr. Alan Sroufe, an internationally recognized emotional development expert and author, will reveal compelling evidence that early relationship experience endures through childhood and continues into adulthood.

The KidSTART Project, funded in part by First 5 San Diego, will be presented by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Child Welfare Services and Rady’s Children’s Hospital.  A presentation on First 5 San Diego’s Healthy Development Services (HDS) will be given by the American Academy of Pediatrics San Diego Chapter 3 along with an HDS provider.

ZERO TO THREE is a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 that has been working with the top experts in child development, health, and mental health to create a society that has the knowledge and will to support all infants and toddlers in reaching their full potential.  For more information, visit

If you are unable to travel to NTI, get NTI LIVE from your home or office!  Five exceptional sessions will webcast for one day on Thursday, November 29, 2012.  This is your chance to participate in important, accessible training from NTI’s expert faculty.  To view the webcast sessions and to register, visit

First 5 High Fives
Cal-SAFE Escondido Staff

First 5 High Fives

In each issue of the newsletter, First 5 San Diego will be featuring a contractor to give readers a closer look into our network of community partners.  In this issue, we present California School-Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE) Escondido.

The Cal-SAFE program assists expectant and parenting teens to access identified support services so they may complete their high school education, learn positive parenting skills, and develop job preparedness skills.  Services range from flexible education programs leading to a high school diploma or equivalent, parenting and health education, childbirth education referrals, academic support, support groups, nutrition education, and referrals for other local resources.  Cal-SAFE also provides Quality Early Childhood Education Centers for infants and toddlers. First 5 San Diego funds the Cal-SAFE programs at the following school districts: Escondido, Grossmont Union, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista.

Each year, Cal-SAFE Escondido assists 200 expectant and parenting teens at San Pascual Academy, Escondido High School, Orange Glen High School and Valley High School, and provides quality childcare services to 130 children.  To find more information about Cal-SAFE Escondido, contact Rachel Asman at (760) 291-6062 or

Add Your Event to Our Website

Our website features an enhanced community calendar. Do you have a community event that you would like to add to the First 5 San Diego calendar? If your event focuses on children ages 0-5, parents, caregivers and/or expectant parents, offered at no or low cost, and sponsored by a non-profit organization, we want to share your event. Fill out our Community Event Listing Request Form.

For more information about First 5 San Diego services call 1-888-5 First 5. For updates from First 5 San Diego, please join us on Facebook.