Our Partners

The strength of our work lies in our partnerships across San Mateo County.

By working in collaboration, we are able to have a greater impact for children and families and help to shape the systems that support them. Meet the partners we collaborate with across our focus areas.

Quality Care and Education

Build Up is a collaborative initiative to address the county’s significant child care facilities shortage. Build Up engages local governments, businesses, and other partners to create and preserve much-needed child care programs.

Through Quality Counts San Mateo County, SMCOE supports early learning quality improvement efforts, providing coaching, training, incentives, and other supports to participating center-based and family childcare early learning programs.

Subcontractor: 4Cs of San Mateo County

Early Childhood Quality and Inclusion Projects

As a close partner in First 5’s quality care and education efforts, SMCOE’s Early Childhood Quality and Inclusion Project helps early learning providers create inclusive environments through capacity building and quality improvement efforts. The initiative also supports families of children with special needs to find appropriate programs.

Subcontractors and partners: 4Cs of San Mateo County, StarVista, Community Equity Collaborative, Child Care Partnership Council, Build UP, The Big Lift, Good2Know Network, IHSD- Institute and Human and Social Development EHS/Head Start, Early Childhood Language Development Institute, Lifesteps Foundation, Abilitypath

Healthy Children

AbilityPath is First 5’s partner in Help Me Grow, supporting children’s healthy development by identifying and treating children with special needs, promoting Help Me Grow and developmental screening among pediatricians, and strengthening the early identification and intervention system.

Funded subpartners: Legal Aid of SMC, Starvista, Lifesteps Foundation Children and Family Services, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Stanford Children’s Health -Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Stanford Children’s Health Government Relations


Hamai Consulting and Trauma Transformed

First 5 is collaboratively funding TRISI along with San Mateo County Health and MHSA funding. Two organizations, Hamai Consulting and East Bay Agency for Children’s Trauma Transformed (T2), are developing learning cohorts, which will help to support and create a more trauma-informed approach among the child- and family-serving workforce.

Children Now

Supports oral health access and utilization for children birth through age 5 and pregnant women by educating and engaging stakeholders about state policies that support the implementation of the county’s oral health strategic plan.

Sonrisas Dental Health

Provides dental screenings, education, oral health supply toolkits, and care coordination to low-income children ages 0-5 in San Mateo County. Provide urgent, restorative, and preventative care for a portion of the children with needs identified via school-based screening.

Ravenswood Family Health Center

Provides preventative oral health care to children age 5 and under though virtual dental home in which we will bring dental services to partner pre-schools; disease prevention model utilizing telehealth; oral health literacy in which we will train parents to be oral health promoters; and dental desensitization visits at dental clinic for children with special needs. Provide urgent, restorative, and preventative care for a portion of the children with needs identified via school-based screening.

Resilient Families

CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse) provides domestic violence mental health services and supports to parents and young children, and leads a Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) that ensures a trauma-informed approach to smooth referral pathways for domestic violence victims.

Family Connections engages at-risk families in a bilingual, culturally-responsive, quality family learning community, which takes place within three early learning programs in the southern part of the county. The program fosters strong parent-child attachments and strengthens parent resiliency. More intensive supports are available to families in need.

First 5 partners with Izzi Early Education​ to engage at risk, low income families to promote healthy parent-child relationships. Izzi Early Education​ utilizes authentic family engagement strategies, including Father Engagement and Parent Leadership approaches, for families in its Head Start and Early Head Start early learning programs.

Peninsula Family Service is funded by First 5 to provide therapeutic treatment addressing toxic stress and trauma for homeless toddlers and preschoolers (18+ months) in culturally competent, bilingual, early learning settings at two family shelters, First Step for Families and Haven Family House.

Sueños Unidos

Puente is funded to provide a bilingual parent-participatory cooperative preschool serving south coast children and families. The co-op utilizes authentic family engagement and parent involvement approaches for toddlers and parents, activity groups for parents and infants, and Trauma Transformed trainings for parents and providers.

Family Engagement

First 5 funds SMCOE to increase the capacity of family serving providers to authentically engage families, through provider and parent leader skill building opportunities and peer networking groups, including Friday CAFEs.

StarVista provides two services to support high-risk families. Bilingual and culturally sensitive mental health home visiting services help mitigate the impact of toxic stress and trauma and help prevent child abuse. Additional programming focusings on authentic father engagement and supporting fathers through coaching, Father Cafes, and fatherhood workshops.

Kitty Lopez has served as the Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County since 2012, focusing on policy, advocacy and communications development. Additionally, she is the Chair of First 5 Association of California. Kitty previously served as the Executive Director of Samaritan House, one of the leading safety-net nonprofit agencies serving low-income families and individuals in San Mateo County with food, shelter, clothing, health care, counseling, education classes, and holiday assistance from 2002 to 2012.

Kitty taught kindergarten, second grade, and high school in the Bay Area and in Santa Barbara, and was a consultant in schools with children who have autism and special needs. Additionally, Kitty worked in a residential substance abuse treatment center in San Francisco and psychiatric hospital in San Diego.

She attended University of California Santa Barbara earning a California Teaching Credential and B.A in Psychology. Kitty is active in her community serving on several community boards including HEART (Housing Endowment and Regional Trust of San Mateo County), STEP (Success Through Education Program), and Past President and Current Member of the San Mateo Rotary Club.