Special report: An in-depth look at California's First 5 early-childhood initiative
Did a celebrity's tobacco tax plan voted in 20 years ago improve young children's health, well-being and school-readiness?
This series about the history and impact of First 5 is supported by a University of Southern California 2018 Center for Health Journalism fellowship.
- What did California's novel approach to funding early-childhood programs achieve? The impact of the First 5 initiative, spearheaded by actor-director Rob Reiner, is complicated to measure because of the lack of longitudinal data.
- How filmmaker Rob Reiner put early childhood in the limelight Recruiting Hollywood A-listers for help, Reiner paved the way for passage of a tobacco tax to fund programs for California's youngest children — and helped to spread a national movement.
- As revenue declines from one 'sin tax,' California considers tapping another for children's programs Taxes on recreational marijuana "won't be a panacea," said a First 5 official, but advocates still hope they can be directed toward early intervention and education.
- Early-childhood advocates see cannabis challenges rise as tobacco sales fall As more states consider legalizing marijuana, California's First 5 agencies are on the forefront of educating the public about the impacts during pregnancy and in homes with young children.
- One California county epitomizes positive impact of home visiting amid national trend To reduce child maltreatment rates, Santa Cruz's First 5 organization has worked to spread evidence-based intervention programs — with effective results.
- More California school administrators gain skills as early-childhood leaders With an early-learning advocate now headed for the governor's office, the state's First 5 commissions say it's time to link pre-K and K-12 data to boost student success.
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