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Newborn girl sleeping on mom's shoulder


First 5 San Mateo County promotes positive outcomes for young children and their families through strategic investments, community leadership, and effective partnerships.

Vision: Success for every child

Core Values

We believe that our work must:

  • Support the whole child within the whole family:  We understand that young children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development are interdependent, and that children grow and learn within their family relationships and the larger community.
  • Embrace the importance of fathers and male role models in the healthy development of children: We expect intentional inclusion of fathers/male role models and consideration of their needs within the structure and delivery models of family services and supports.
  • Promote positive early development and focus on prevention and early intervention: We know that 75% of a child’s brain develops before the third birthday, and that it is therefore critical to support pregnant women and to help mothers, fathers, and caregivers establish and maintain stable and loving relationships with their infants and toddlers.
  • Include children of diverse abilities: We support the right of all children to actively participate in natural settings within their communities.
  • Engage parents and families: We respect parents’ desire and ability to nurture their children and act as their 1st teachers.
  • Honor cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity: We ensure that services are delivered in a culturally and linguistically competent way.
  • Appreciate strengths: We build upon the positive qualities of children, families, and communities in the design and delivery of programs.
  • Enlarge community capacity: We invest in our community’s understanding of and ability to support the healthy development of all children.

Guiding Principles

In our work on behalf of young children, we strive to:

  • Create Value: Invest in approaches that add social and economic value to the landscape of supports for all children and families, and build upon, integrate, and collaborate with existing services improve quality and provide efficient service delivery.
  • Promote Equity: Ensure that all children, regardless of circumstance, have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  • Foster Excellence: Expect excellence and allow for innovation in the development and implementation of initiatives and programs.
  • Demonstrate Effectiveness: Consider the existing evidence of impact when designing and supporting activities, and evaluate our investments to monitor results and inform continuous quality improvement.
  • Achieve Sustainable Change:  Use Commission investments to effect long term policy, institutional, funding, and systemic changes that extend the reach and impact of First 5 San Mateo County activities.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

— African Proverb