First 5 Kern
Annual Report to
the Community
FY 2021-2022

From the Executive Director

First 5 Kern is proud to present our Report to the Community for the 2021-22 fiscal year. This report provides a snapshot of the critical work that our funded programs do, day in and day out, for the children and families that we serve in Kern County.

Our efforts to improve child health in Kern County empowered eleven programs to meet the health needs of children and families. An astounding $2,437,285 was invested in hospitals, school districts, non-profits, and county agencies to serve nearly 3,800 children 0 – 5 years old. By advancing family functioning through parent education and support services, seventeen programs received $2,991,392 in vital funding. Investments in school districts and non-profits extended to all corners of Kern County and impacted 9,655 caregivers and well over 6,600 children in Kern County. And with a focus on early child care and education, 11 programs received $1,689,169, making early childcare services accessible to children in Kern County.

Among our investments in child health, family functioning, and early child care and education, First 5 Kern has become a catalyst to strengthen systems and build new ones where gaps in services may exist. Through free screenings, Help Me Grow Kern County helped hundreds of families focus on their child’s developmental, social-emotional, and behavioral skills. First 5 Kern staff maintain a voice at the table for collaborations across Kern County impacting children 0-5. And lastly, Resilient Kern has played an important role in helping create a more trauma-informed approach to human services and healthcare in our county.

We celebrate our success in 2021-22 and thank the many partners that make this work possible!

Amy Travis,
Executive Director

Our Mission

To strengthen and support the children of Kern County prenatal to five and their families by empowering our providers through the integration of services with an emphasis on health and wellness, parent education, and early childcare and education.

Who was served by First 5 Kern programs in 2021-22?

kids 0-3


kids 0-3

total kids 0-5


total kids 0-5

kids 3-5


kids 3-5


primary caregivers

child care providers


child care providers

Our funding

First 5 Kern funding primarily still comes from Proposition 10, a measure approved statewide by voters in 1998 that levies a $.50 tax on tobacco products, such as a pack of cigarettes. Subsequent tobacco taxes have complicated that funding stream, with the introduction of backfill revenues, but they combine into what we call “Tobacco Tax Funds.”

Other funding may include grants that support specific initiatives (ACEs Aware, Help Me Grow Kern County funding from Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services) or other funding support from First 5 California (such as IMPACT).

Additional taxes have since been levied against tobacco products in California, which have been successful in decreasing smoking rates throughout the state. The flipside of that, of course, is that this decrease in products being purchased also means a decrease in funding to First 5s. Tobacco products purchased on native lands or in different states are not subject to Proposition 10 taxation and do not then get passed down to counties for distribution on these childhood support programs.

Our investment

First 5 Kern funding has traditionally followed funding cycles, which allow recipients to build capacity and structure to support children and families on a multi-year basis. This provides certainty and helps ensure continuity of services.

Those funds have been assigned to 41 different programs that were approved for our current five-year funding cycle, which runs from July 1, 2020-June 30, 2025. 

Each program is then assigned to one of three main Focus Areas that best describes their work, with all working collectively on integration (Focus Area 4).

The 4 Focus Areas that
guide First 5 Kern funding

Health & Wellness

Parent Education & Support Services

Early Childcare & Education

Integration of Services

Focus Area 1: Health & Wellness


Black Infant Health Program
Kern County Public Health Services Department

Children’s Mobile Immunization Program
Adventist Health Bakersfield

Infant and Toddler Program
CASA of Kern County

Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network
Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Kern Valley Aquatics Program
South Fork Union School District

Make A Splash
City of Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department

Medically Vulnerable Care Coordination Project of Kern County
Kern County Public Health Services Department

Medically Vulnerable Infant Program
Clinica Sierra Vista

Nurse-Family Partnership Program
Kern County Public Health Services Department

Richardson Special Needs Collaborative
Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Special Start for Exceptional Children
Caring Corner

<<< Special Start for Exceptional Children is a program of Caring Corner that allows access to high-quality, medically-supported child care for families with children that have special needs. Here, a young student partakes in a family gardening event through the center.

FOCUS AREA 1: Health & Wellness
(Improved Child Health)


across 11 programs

Eleven programs received funding in FY 2020-21 that met the health needs of children and families in Kern County.


children served, ages 0 to 5

Oral health, immunizations, early intervention, and home visiting programs are a few examples of services provided.

11 programs

serving children and families

Hospitals, school districts, non-profits, and county agencies were all among the grantees operating a program that received funding.

Focus Area 2: Parent Eduction & Support Services


2-1-1 Kern County
Community Action Partnership of Kern

Arvin Family Resource Center
Arvin Union School District

Buttonwillow Community Resource Center
Buttonwillow Union School District

Differential Response
Kern County Network for Children

Domestic Violence Reduction Project
Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.

East Kern Family Resource Center
Community Action Partnership of Kern

Family Caregivers Project
Vision y Compromiso

Greenfield School Readiness Program
Greenfield Union School District

Guardianship Caregiver Project
Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.

Kern River Valley Family Resource Center
Kernville Union School District

Lamont Vineland School Readiness Program
Lamont School District

McFarland Family Resource Center
McFarland Unified School District

Mountain Communities Family Resource Center
Mountain Communities Family Resource Center, Inc.

Oasis Family Resource Center
Community Action Partnership of Kern

Shafter Healthy Start
Richland School District

Southeast Neighborhood Partnership Family Resource Center
Clinica Sierra Vista

Women’s Center Network
Women’s Center – High Desert, Inc.

<<< The School Readiness Program at Raffaello Palla Elementary School is part of the Greenfield Family Resource Center. They host regular time for a parent to join their child in the classroom for activities. Parents then have the opportunity to learn more about the skills needed when their child begins their formal education.

FOCUS AREA 2: Parent Education & Support Services
(Improved Family Functioning)


across 17 programs

Seventeen programs received funding in FY 2020-21 that worked with families on child development, parenting skills, and family support services



Clients are parents and other caregivers, receiving services such as parenting education, referrals, home visits, legal support, and other direct services. Over 6,600 children were served as well.

17 programs

serving children and families

Programs in this focus area are operated by school districts and non-profits and extend to all corners of Kern County

Family Resource Centers

5,964 parents/guardians served
14 Locations

Services often include:

  • Educational center-based activities
  • Summer bridge
  • Court-mandated parenting classes
  • Case management services for children and parents/caregivers
  • Group parenting classes
  • Developmental screenings

FRCs serve as a central location for families in communities, especially in rural areas or smaller communities without an abundance of available resources.

The waning of the pandemic allowed more families to reconnect with FRCs, and over 800 more parents accessed their services in 2021-22 than the previous year.

Focus Area 3: Early Childcare & Education


Blanton Child Development Center
Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Delano School Readiness
Delano Union School District

Discovery Depot Child Care Center
Bakersfield Homeless Center

Health Literacy Program
Kern High School District, Bakersfield Adult School

Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Lost Hills Family Resource Center
Lost Hills Union School District

Neighborhood Place Community Learning Center
North of the River Recreation and Park District

Small Steps Child Development Center
Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault

South Fork Preschool and Day Care Center
South Fork Union School District

West Side Outreach and Learning Center
West Side Recreation and Parks District

Wind in the Willows Preschool
Wind in the Willows Education Organzation

<<< Wind in the Willows Preschool is the only formal early learning classroom in Boron, and has received First 5 Kern funding since 2001.

FOCUS AREA 3: Early Childcare and Education
(Improved Child Development)


across 11 programs

Eleven programs received funding in FY 2020-21 making early childcare services accessible to children in Kern County.


children 0-5

Children are introduced to classrooms through high quality early learning childcare programs and summer bridge programs.

11 programs

serving children and families

Programs in this area are operated by school districts, local government agencies, and non-profits.


Improve and
Programs so

A key program within Focus Area 3 is IMPACT, a statewide initiative funded by First 5 California that strengthens early learning programs throughout the county.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools is the local recipient of these funds, supporting their Kern Early Stars program.

IMPACT funding has enabled outreach to underserved populations of early learning educators such as family childcare providers, family resource centers, and family friends and neighbors. Funding provides support to those programs with coaching, materials, resources, professional development, and financial stipends.

The providers set goals and develop action steps which will improve quality in their program and provide higher outcomes for the children and families they serve.

Making an IMPACT on early education in Kern County

invested in 2021-22

invested in Kern County since 2015

Making an IMPACT across Kern County

children served

IMPACT childcare sites

zip codes in Kern County served

childcare instructors
participating in trainings

children in IMPACT sites receiving
developmental screenings

Focus Area 4: Integration of Services


First 5 Kern works within the community to build relationships facilitating the creation and implementation of integrated and collaborative systems of information. It is a component of all focus areas, advocacy, and outreach.

The effort enhances system building, optimizes early childhood development and strengthens Kern families. The goal of this focus area is to invest in and improve coordination across systems of care, efficiently connecting young children to early intervention.

ACEs Aware Kern County

Community Collaboratives and Committees

Community Event Support

Help Me Grow Kern County

Resilient Kern

Trainings and Workshops

<<< This "ACEs tree" model is often used to show how ACEs and environmental factors can work together to interfere with childhood development. First 5 Kern's ACEs Aware and Resilient Kern efforts bring attention to these impacts.

Resilient Kern

Resilient Kern has played an important role in helping create a more trauma-informed approach to human services and healthcare in our county.

By pivoting during the pandemic, hosting trainings and informational webinars online at, this initiative was able to continue to build awareness of toxic stress and grow a community of leaders focused on the resiliency of our families.

These efforts set the foundation for First 5 Kern to be awarded a grant from ACEs Aware that has the potential to impact our community for years to come.

Help Me Grow Kern County

Help Me Grow Kern County helped hundreds of families follow along with their child’s development by offering free screenings using two different Ages & Stages Questionnaires. These tools help parents track the progression of their little one’s developmental, social-emotional, and behavioral skills.

Our partnership with Community Action Partnership of Kern’s (CAPK) 2-1-1 program allows parents to have assistance completing these screenings over the phone in English or in Spanish, while also working with the family to set up follow-up screenings and connect parents to other resources for their children.

Inaugural Kern County ACEs Conference

ACEs Aware Kern County launched in Spring, 2021, aiming to increase screenings for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in medical settings – specifically with Medi-Cal providers. A partnership with Omni Family Health yielded a successful pilot program. The conference drew speakers from around the state and over 300 local participants. The 2nd Annual ACEs Conference was scheduled for May, 2023.

Click the above image for a video outlining the ACEs Aware grant program.

The grant culminated in a first-of-its-kind conference for our community dedicated to addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress. Bringing hundreds of people from varying networks and industries for a full day of guest speakers, breakout group discussions and learning sessions, the inaugural ACEs Conference was held online in March, 2022.

Click the image above to visit the First 5 Kern YouTube page, which has recordings of each session during our Inaugural ACEs Conference. 

Training & Preparation


A First 5 Kern-funded program is more than just a grant recipient. Our programs also receive support in the form of training opportunities to help serve children and families.

In 2021-22:

  • 46 providers were trained in ASQ-3. The Ages & Stages Questionnaire is used to assess developmental milestones for children under the age of 6.

  • 31 providers received ASQ:SE-2 training. This screening assesses a child’s social-emotional well-being and adaptation, especially in early learning settings.

  • 98 providers received confidentiality training. This is a key aspect of working with families and recording data to ensure we maintain confidentiality of the families that we serve.

  • 6 providers received Nurturing Parenting training. This evidence-based parent education curriculum is used by many FRCs for parenting guidance and court-mandated classes. It is designed to enhance the skills of parents and their knowledge of childhood development to meet the needs of their little ones. Each of these providers hold classes for scores of parents each year.

Collaborations & Coalitions

First 5 Kern, with guidance from its Strategic Plan, allocates funds for initiatives that provide Kern County children with the foundation they need to succeed.

First 5 Kern is actively involved in and supports partnerships which bring organizations together to achieve better outcomes for children and their families in our community.

Additionally, First 5 Kern maintains a voice at the table for collaborations across Kern County impacting children 0-5.

  • 34th Street Neighborhood Partnership
  • ACEs Aware in Action: Innovations & Lessons Learned conference presenter
  • Bakersfield College Child Development Advisory Committee
  • Bakersfield City School District – School Health Advisory Committee
  • Black Infant Maternal Health Initiative
  • Buttonwillow Community Collaborative
  • Child Death Review Team
  • Community Action Partnership of Kern – Health Services Advisory Committee
  • County Nutrition Action Plan
  • Delano Neighborhood Partnership
  • Early Childhood Council of Kern
  • East Bakersfield Community Collaborative
  • East Kern Collaborative
  • Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Part I Implementation Planning Committee
  • Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team
  • Greenfield H.E.L.P.S. Collaborative
  • Health Net Kern Community Advisory Committee
  • Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems Coordination Meetings
  • Indian Wells Valley Collaborative
  • Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee
  • Kern Connected Community Network – Community Advisory Group
  • Kern County ACEs Conference
  • Kern County Network for Children General Collaborative
  • Kern County Prevention Council
  • Kern Pledge – Kinder Readiness Workgroup
  • Kern River Valley Collaborative
  • Lost Hills Community Collaborative
  • McFarland Collaborative
  • Medically Vulnerable Care Coordination Committee
  • Mountain Communities Collaborative
  • Oildale Community Collaborative
  • Resilient Kern Leadership Group
  • Richardson Special Needs Collaborative
  • Safe Sleep Coalition of Kern County
  • Safely Surrender Baby Coalition
  • Shafter Healthy Start Collaborative
  • South Valley Neighborhood Partnership
    Arvin/Lamont/Weedpatch Collaborative
  • Southeast Neighborhood Partnership General Collaborative
  • West Side Collaborative
  • Wasco Community Collaborative


In addition to our funded programs, First 5 Kern lends financial support to community events serving families and young children. Agencies and non-profits may request up to $5,000 of community sport funds.

Click here for more info!

Fiscal Year 2021-22 recipients:

  • Bakersfield Pregnancy Center
  • Kern County DHS – Purple Ribbon Month
  • Laborers of the Harvest
  • Kern Literacy Council
  • Assistance League’s – Operation School Bell
  • Caring Corner – Family Collaborative
  • Kern Medical Foundation – Reach Out and Read
  • Oasis FRC Baby Shower

Diaper Deliveries

Diapers are a great need for families throughout Kern County, and a difficult expense to bear. 

In 2021-22, First 5 Kern was able to secure 1,270 cases of diapers for families in need, and worked with our Family Resource Center partners to distribute them in outlying communities such as Buttonwillow, Taft, Frazier Park, Ridgecrest, Mojave and more.

Dating back to 2020, with assistance from First 5 California and, First 5 Kern has given out over 8,000 cases of diapers

First 5 Kern Commission

John Nilon, Chairperson
Retired Kern County Administrative Officer

Debbie Wood, Vice-Chairperson
Retired Coordinator for School Health, Bakersfield City School District

Jennie Sill, Secretary
Mental Health Systems Administrator, Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services

Brynn Carrigan, Treasurer
Director, Kern County Department of Public Health Services

Supervisor Leticia Perez
Kern County District Supervisor, District 5

Dr. Lisa Gilbert
Deputy Superintendent, Instructional Services,
Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Lito Morillo
Director, Kern County Department of Human Services

Deborah Murr
Chief Compliance and Fraud Officer, Kern Health Systems

Aaron Resendez
Superintendent, McFarland Unified School District