What is Proposition 10?
Proposition 10 was passed by California voters, known as the California Children and Families Act of 1998. The law added a .50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes and tobacco products. Revenues collected provide a trust fund for health, wellness, parent education, and early child care and education programs for children, prenatal to 5-years-old, and their families. Proposition 10 required each of California’s 58 counties to implement a Children and Families Commission (known in Kern County as First 5 Kern) and create an annual strategic plan (with input from communities, including families, service providers, and advocacy groups). The Plan outlines how the funds will be used to develop comprehensive, integrated systems of support and services for all children, prenatal to 5-years-old and their families.
What is the goal of Proposition 10?
Proposition 10 funds are intended to promote, support and improve early childhood development through coordinating resources and programs that emphasize family support, parent education, childcare and early education, and healthcare. Proposition 10 required each county to create a strategic plan based on extensive input from communities, including families, service providers, and advocacy groups. The plan outlines how counties will use these funds to develop comprehensive, integrated systems of support and services for all children prenatal to age five and their families.
Why the emphasis on early childhood?
90% of a person’s brain develops in the first five years. Research indicates that a child’s emotional, physical and intellectual environment, in which a child lives and develops, has a profound impact on how his or her brain develops. Early experiences with parents and caregivers influence how a child will function when he or she starts school and well into adulthood. The first 5 years last forever.
How much money is involved?
Approximately $550 million is collected each year from the tobacco tax. County Commissions receive 80% of those dollars to fund local programs. First 5 California receives 20% for statewide education and outreach. County Commissions receive funds based on county birth rate data in the county where the birth mother resides. Currently, 13,000-14,000 babies are born in Kern County.
Will Proposition 10 money be used to replace currently planned or funded services?
Proposition 10 money cannot be used to replace existing funding for services or programs. The money can be used only to augment existing programs or to create new ones. All programs funded by Proposition 10 must also focus on children ages prenatal to five.
What happens when smoking rates go down and fewer revenues are collected?
Less revenue will be available. If fewer taxes are collected, the amount of funds to each county reduces proportionately. There is no provision for funding from other sources; though the funds are often used as ‘match’ funding so that service providers can secure other grants and government funds. The intent of Proposition 10 is to create sustainable programs for children that can continue even as Proposition 10 funding decreases. First 5 Kern has a five-year financial plan to provide an appropriate level of funding for major initiatives.
How is the money administered in Kern County?
The funds are administered by the First 5 Kern Commission (the Kern County Children and Families Commission), made up of nine Commissioners and three alternates appointed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Commission meetings are held bimonthly, open to the public, and subject to The Brown Act. Agenda and meeting minutes are available on this website and can be downloaded.
I have a program that serves young children. Where, when and how can I apply for money?
When Requests for Proposals (RFP), usually for five-year terms, the Commission posts opportunities for funding on this website as authorized by the Commission.