Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Marcelo Virgen, 3, looks at the First 5 Madera County 2020-2014 Strategic Plan booklet.
First 5 Madera County has released its 2020–2024 Strategic Plan along with $600,000 to be invested in services for Madera County’s children The ultimate goal is to promote early learning so that the youngsters are ready to start school. The new First 5 Madera County Strategic Plan reveals priority needs among young children and strategic investments designed to impact change.
The new Strategic Plan outlines the Commission’s focus on utilizing the Network Strategy, which relies on partnerships that combine local money and expertise to strengthen the early childhood development system in Madera County. The goal is to maximize resources and streamline services that are the most impactful for young children. “Though excited about investing $600,000 into our children, understand that we do not have enough money to impact all of our County’s children. Now, more than ever before, we seek strategic partnerships with local agencies to leverage our Proposition 10 funding,” says Chinayera Black-Hardaman, executive director of First 5 Madera County.
With $600,000, the Strategic Plan aims to impact Madera County’s children through two investment strategies. The first strategy is Commission-Initiated Investments that focus on policy and system changes to address the needs of young children and their families. For example, conversations with families consistently reveal transportation as a barrier to receiving services for their children. First 5 Madera County aims to partner more closely with the Madera County Transportation Commission to assess needs and viable solutions. Families also mentioned neighborhood and park safety as a barrier to taking children out for fitness and social opportunities. Under this new Strategic Plan, First 5 Madera County aims to partner closely with the cities to assess needs and viable solutions.
The second strategy is Community-Initiated Investments that invite local stakeholders to submit grant applications that are innovative pilot projects and prevention focused in nature as prescribed by the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. Funding of successful agencies will begin October 2019 for a 21-month funding cycle through June 2021.
“By strengthening our families and bridging the gaps in services, it is the hope of First Madera County that all Madera County children will thrive in school and in life, resulting in a stronger community,” said Black-Hardaman.