First 5 San Diego Awarded More than $10 Million Grant

August 10, 2012 | 12:06pm

First 5 San Diego today announced it has received an award of more than $10 million for First 5 California’s Child Signature Program to ensure quality early childhood education in the county.

“Funding for early childhood education has faced dramatic cuts over the last couple of years,” said Supervisor Bill Horn, Chair of the First 5 Commission. “As a result, families in San Diego with the greatest need face limited access and lower quality of services.”

First 5 California approved more than $65 million to be allocated to eight First 5 County Commissions for the Child Signature Program, with the goal of increasing quality in early childhood education programs for preschool-aged children.  The program provides a common framework of quality standards for each commission to implement through their preschool programs. 

In San Diego, the $10,363,875 award will be leveraged through the First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI) – a new early education initiative – which invests more than $55 million in the community over the next three years.  First 5 San Diego will also use a federal grant for the same purpose:  Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), which may bring in more than $4 million to San Diego over the next four years. This prestigious award went to only nine states in the country.

“First 5’s investments are key to the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative, which aims to achieve healthy, safe and thriving communities,” said Nick Macchione, First 5 Commissioner and Director of the County Health and Human Services Agency.  “Quality early care and education impact a child’s healthy development well into adulthood as they are more likely to do better in school, graduate from college, get better jobs, and are less likely to commit crime.”

Set to begin this fall, QPI will provide high-quality preschool services to three and four-year-old children in 12 communities throughout San Diego County – Borrego Springs, Central San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire, National City, San Ysidro, South Bay, Valley Center/Pauma, and Vista.  First 5 has contracted with the San Diego County Office of Education to coordinate the initiative.

“These funds will help us continue quality services that families with children ages 0 through 5 rely upon to raise healthy, Kindergarten-ready children,” said Kim Medeiros, Executive Director of First 5 San Diego.

For more information about First 5 San Diego, visit First5SanDiego.org or call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).