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First 5 grants to help child development

The First 5 Madera County Commission on Oct. 4 approved $200,000 in investments to promote healthier lifestyles and optimal childhood development for children 0-5 years old in Madera County. Since releasing the 2020 Strategic Plan in June, First 5 has been searching for partner agencies to grant funds to impact the goals and objectives. Two grants have been awarded:

Camarena Health Centers: Preschool Healthy Lifestyles Program — $100,000

Childhood obesity continues to be an issue in Madera County. According to the California Department of Public Health — Community Health Assessment, Madera County’s obesity rates among adults was at 34 percent in 2014. Children with overweight parents are more likely to be overweight and at risk of experiencing health and social-emotional problems. Childhood obesity can be prevented with early interventions and healthy habits.

The Preschool Healthy Lifestyles Program will provide nutrition and physical activity education to preschoolers and their parents in order to reduce obesity by teaching healthy choices to children while they are young. The program will provide services to children in Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Oakhurst, North Fork, Chowchilla, and the Madera Ranchos.

“Camarena Health and First 5 Madera County have a great history of collaboration to positively impact the health and wellness of children 0-5 years of age in our community. I appreciate the continued partnership and trust placed in Camarena Health by First 5 Madera County and its Commissioners,” said Paulo A. Soares, CEO of Camarena Health.

CASA of Fresno and Madera: ASQs for Madera County Foster Children Ages 0-5 — $100,000

Meeting developmental milestones is an important component to a child’s early learning and success. Without a stable caregiver, foster children are the most vulnerable for having developmental delays go unnoticed or untreated.

This program will provide Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) screenings to all foster children 0-5 years old. An ASQ Specialist will conduct the screenings at the appropriate intervals based on the child’s age. The ASQ Specialist will work alongside with the Department of Social Services to screen foster children and make referrals for follow up when appropriate.

“CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties is honored to receive First 5 funding to provide critical assessment to all Madera County foster children ages 0-5 years old. Through ongoing developmental assessments, early detection of concerns can be identified and mitigated. This can be a game changer in partnering with Madera Department of Social Services to improve the lives of our community’s youngest at-risk foster children,” said Wilma Hashimoto, executive director of CASA Fresno and Madera.

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