Sean Casey describes what first five means to her.

What are you most looking forward to at this summit?

Having this summit is a great opportunity to get everybody in the same room, not just those from First 5. People from the Education Department, Social Services and Providers all get to share what’s been going on in California. We get to come together and learn from a common well of knowledge about what both children and families need. There’s always something new that individuals can take back to their counties.

 

What has Contra Costa done in order to improve school readiness?

For almost 20 years now, Contra Costa has been looking at early childhood education, early intervention and family support. For early childhood education, it’s all about biology and raising the quality of early education for the children who need it the most.

First 5 centers give families a community with other parents, where they can learn what it means to be a parent of a young child. They can learn what’s happening and how to solve problems that may arise. I think it’s incredibly important for all of us to remember that behind all of our programs and assessments, the single greatest factor holding a majority of children back is poverty and inequality.

We can always perfect our interventions, but if we are not going to ensure that children are raised in a family and community that is not suffering economically, we’re always going to be behind the wave. I hope that the next 20 years at First 5, that’s going to be our sweet spot and what we work on the most. Because in the long run that’s actually what families need the most.

 

First 5 Contra Costa