First 5 and Developmental Services Building Partnerships for Our Youngest Children
GOAL OF DISCUSSION TWO CALIFORNIA SYSTEMS CHARGED WITH MEETING CHILDREN’S NEEDS • First 5 Commissions • What they look like and how they function • Regional Centers • What they look like and how they function • WHERE DO THEY MEET AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY DO?
BACKGROUND on First 5 commissions • County entities • Difference between state and county commissions • Role of Board of Supervisers • Autonomy of commissions • Required to address health, early learning, family functioning, systems change • 58 learning laboratories • Traditional focus on school readiness • High need target neighborhoods • Family literacy • Access to preschool and high quality ECE • Full inclusion
BACKGROUND, cont. • Constraints on First 5 Commissions • Non-supplantion provision • Can only serve children 0 – 5 and their families • County commission funds must serve children in their own counties • Unusual structure, compared to other major service-deliver systems • Constraints on Regional Centers • Entitlement without commensurate funding • Need to manage demand • Unusual structure, compared to other major service-deliver systems
County First 5 Commissions and Children with Special Needs • Most commissions address behavioral and social/emotional issues – what regional centers do not address – through various programs. • Commissions are increasingly funding screening in settings such as pediatricians offices and ECE settings. • Commissions aim to reduce pressure on regional center system by promoting healthy births. • Many commissions are trying to absorb children not eligible for services from regional centers.
IMPACT OF BUDET CRISIS • First 5 commissions’ response • State First 5 commission • County First 5 commissions • Poll #1 The state budget crisis started three years ago. In your experience, are families having a harder time getting services now? NO--I haven't seen any change; YES--harder to get agencies to answer the phone; YES--longer wait times; YES--families are paying more out of pocket now; YES--families aren't qualifying for as many services
RECENT BUDGET HISTORY • Last year’s interim budget agreement pitted the Regional Center system against First 5 by placing Prop 1D on the May ballot. • Prop 1D called for diversion of more than 50% of First 5 funds for 5 years. • In the Governor’s proposed 2009-10 budget, the diverted funds were directed toward several programs, but most significantly, the DDS budget. • Prop 1D failed passage statewide by a margin of 65% - 35%.
RECENT HISTORY, cont. • When the Legislature passed the final budget-related bills in July, 2009, the Governor vetoed $50 million for the Early Start Program with this message: “I am reducing Regional Center Purchase of Services by $50,000,000 for services to children up to age five, as these services are due to program growth and thus eligible for funding from the California Children and Families Commission. I am directing the Secretary for the Health and Human Services Agency, the Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Finance to immediately request funds from the Commission for this purpose. I do not intend to pursue separate legislation changing eligibility or services for these children for purposes of achieving these savings. I urge the Commission to provide supplemental funding for the growth in these services.”
Current Status • Last month, First 5 CA approved contribution of $50 million to DDS for current year. • This does not address the previous reduction that resulted in a higher bar to entry into Early Start (Prevention Program) or next year’s need. • Poll #2 • Since eligibility for Early Start has changed, are families less likely to be referred to Early Start program? YES/NO
CHALLENGE: MEETING ALL CHILDREN’S NEEDS • How can we resist pitting some children’s programs against others? • Example: CWS advocates response • Bringing DD and First 5 advocates together • Importance of Early Intervention: Collaborating for Our Children’s Future – Principles of Agreement
Principles of Agreement: • Regional centers – through the Early Start program and the Lanterman Act – provide critical services to children born with developmental needs and/or experiencing developmental delays, with the goal of linking them to needed services and optimizing their development. • First 5 commissions provide critical services to children whose needs are not otherwise met by state-funded/state-mandated services, with the goal of promoting child health, school readiness (including social, emotional, and cognitive development), and improved family functioning.
Principles of Agreement: • The earliest and most targeted interventions are the most effective. • Early screening and assessment are critical to ensure access to the most appropriate services. • Families and children frequently have multiple needs and require services from multiple programs or agencies.
Principles of Agreement: • Regional centers are statutorily responsible for only a segment of the child population that experiences developmental and/or health problems. • First 5 commissions are statutorily responsible for identifying and addressing needs of children that are not addressed by other state- or locally-funded programs.
Principles of Agreement: • No single agency can meet the wide range of child and family needs in California; therefore, it benefits all agencies and the children they serve to collaborate and coordinate so as to maximize available assistance to all children with health, development, social-emotional, and cognitive needs. • California’s children are ill-served when programs that meet the needs of different groups are pitted against one another.
Is there an upside? • Can the struggle to meet children’s early needs lead to any new models of collaboration? What are model approaches? • Poll #3 Are there new partnerships in local service delivery systems that are helping to assist families in light of budget cuts? YES/NO • Follow-up survey question: What new partnerships in local service delivery systems do you know of that are helping families get access to needed services?
QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION • Discussion of local experience and protection of children’s programs. • Questions about controversy and/or attacks on First 5? • Anything else.....