In 1998, California voters made a bold move for the future of the state when they approved Proposition 10, which called for a $.50 tax on tobacco products. With Prop 10 funds, First 5 California was established to promote healthy early development and school readiness for California children from the prenatal stage to age five. 

Each California County has a First 5 organization that receives funds annually from this tobacco tax to support children in our specific communities. In fiscal year 2012-2013, First 5 San Mateo County managed $8,1743,939 that went straight into our community to the benefit of 26,424 children, parents, and service providers – and ultimately each and every one of us.

Real Science

Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically during the first five years of life; 75% of development occurs before the third birthday.  During this critical early period, we have a precious window of opportunity to shape how our children’s brains mature and to lay the foundation for the years that follow.

When children are nurtured and provided stability, they arrive at school ready to learn and thrive. But children who are already behind in communication and language when they begin school are at a disadvantage that only persists over time. The answer? Intervention in the earliest years.

Children are the future of society. Helping them reach their full potential is the most fundamentally sound investment we can possibly make, but that investment must begin early. When we invest in our community’s children early, we all reap enormous dividends throughout their education, their careers and their lives.

“More than anything else within the scope of human influence, the future of our families, communities, cultures, economies, and nations depends on our children's learning. The world will become what our children learn it to be.” Dr. James J. Heckman

To view the California Children and Families Act  go to