The First 5 Kern story.

Impact Stories

The programs that are funded by First 5 Kern have a lasting impact on the lives of children, families, and entire communities.

Funded agencies provide a support network when families have few places to turn. Sometimes stories are tragic. Poverty is rampant, stress and family crisis are common. Programs create opportunities for success through their services and the community partners they refer to. The staff of programs funded by First 5 Kern experience first hand the positive impact that Proposition 10 tobacco tax dollars have on the lives of children and families in Kern County.

Below are just a few stories that show the positive impact that comes from empowering children, parents, and families – helping them become resilient, self-sufficient, and successful participants in their communities. Participants in First 5 Kern’s funded programs remain confidential and any listed names are aliases. Below are stories that have been shared by our programs from the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Black Infant Health Program
A recent participant was enrolled into the Black Infant Health (BIH) program at 16 weeks gestational age. She had disclosed a history of anxiety and trauma due to her birth history. BIH’s Family Health Advocate and Mental Health Professional spent a great deal of time educating, engaging with, and supporting her during her pregnancy. Although there were times when she was at heightened anxiety, she would always end the conversation, or BIH Group Session, with words of encouragement and gratitude for the other participants and staff.

She was high-risk due to medical issues which threatened her pregnancy. Her doctor assumed she should deliver between 34-36 weeks gestational age and that she would not carry full-term. However, BIH’s overarching goal is to help our mothers learn how to reduce stress and make healthier lifestyle choices that will positively impact their health outcomes and encourage a full-term delivery. Thus, we are happy to report that she delivered a full-term baby at 40 weeks. She stated that attending the weekly group sessions gave her hope and allowed her to be a part of something special that helped her deal with the stress and anxiety she was feeling. She also stated that without encouragement from the BIH staff and other participants she feels as though she would not have made it to a full-term delivery. To date, she and her baby are both thriving, she has made a full recovery and looks forward to attending the Postpartum Group Sessions

Black Infant Health Program is a program of the County of Kern, Public Health Services Department.

Special Start for Exceptional Children (Caring Corner)
A 5-year-old male was diagnosed with Developmental Delay and Cerebral Palsy along with many other medical conditions. He has attended the Special Start Program since 2017. During his time at Caring Corner, he has been connected with other outside agencies and resources that were able to provide him with additional services. He is now established in his school district with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). He also receives orthopedic therapy services with Terrio Kids. Our program has been able to assist and align our goals with his IEP goals to improve his physical development. We are so proud of his growth and development. One of his recent goals was by January of 2019 he would take reciprocal steps with a walker/gait trainer independently. He has surpassed his goal as he is now able to independently walk without any assistance from a walker or gait trainer! We are extremely proud of his improvements with coping with his feelings, he now asks for help from a trusted adult when he needs help with regulating his emotions while here at Caring Corner.

Special Start for Exceptional Children is a program of Caring Corner, a special education preschool for medically fragile children.

Domestic Violence Reduction Project
Ally* is a young female with a 4 year old daughter. She was the victim of sexual abuse from her ex-boyfriend, who is also the father of her daughter. There was an incident where he attempted to rape her and was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. Ally then contacted us shortly after. Her goal was to obtain protective orders to protect her from her abuser and custody orders so that she and her daughter could escape from the abusive domestic situation. We completed and filed our request for orders, and Ally was given a temporary restraining order and temporary sole custody of her daughter. However, our hearing was postponed several times because the judge in our case did not want to make permanent orders until the ex-boyfriend’s criminal case was completely over. Finally, after nearly 10 months and 5 postponements, her ex-boyfriend’s criminal case was over. We were able to have our day in court, and the judge granted Ally a 5 year restraining order and sole custody of her daughter.
*Note: Client’s name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.

The Domestic Violence Reduction Project is a program of Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance.

Discovery Depot Child Care
One of the parents in the infant toddler room is now in her own home and ready to seek employment as her children are returning to school and under our care at Discovery Depot. This parent was able to obtain a vehicle and housing on her own as she worked hard for months to get everything for the wellbeing of her children. Now that she is no longer living at the shelter, she is looking for employment for her future and son’s best interest. This parent is constantly asking questions and advice to help her children grow and reach their fullest potential. We are proud to be a part of her accomplishments and help her with any support she may need.

Discovery Depot Child Care is a program of Bethany Services, Inc., located at the Bakersfield Homeless Center

Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network
During a drive-thru dental screening in Shafter two siblings were screened and identified with decay. The children’s grandparents were contacted by KCCDHN staff to schedule an appointment, because the children are in the legal care of the grandparents. An appointment was scheduled and the children attended. However, due to the severity of the decay the children would need sedation. The grandparents were advised, but due to the need for sedation either a biological parent would need to sign or a release from a judge would be needed. KCCDHN staff, Shafter/Richland Family Resource Staff, Dr. Purdy’s office manager and the children’s DHS Social Worker worked together to help the grandparents understand what was needed and make the arrangements for the necessary paperwork, in order for the children to receive dental treatment. Although it took several months, with the joint assistance from various agencies the two siblings were able to receive the required signatures and documentation to receive dental treatment with the Pediatric dental office. Both children have since completed their dental treatment, are now cavity free and have established a dental home for their future needs.

Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network is a program of West Kern Community College District and works through Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

2-1-1 Kern County
A recent client called in need of diapers, baby clothing, formula, rental assistance, developmental screening, and also parenting classes. Provided client with South East Family Resource Center, The Pregnancy Center, Mercy Memorial Learning Center, Central Seventh Day Adventist Church, and the Housing Authority of the County of Kern. Client was interested in taking a parenting class since she was a first time mother. Client mentioned she was a single mother of a 3-month-old baby. The client mentioned that she was reaching out to 2-1-1 for resources, because the baby’s father was not supportive.

The client was very pleased with the resources provided. Caller was informed that The Pregnancy Center would have her take classes so that she could earn “Baby Bucks”. Baby Bucks can be utilized to buy things such as a car seat, crib and other baby items at The Pregnancy Center. 2-1-1 was able to follow up with the client a few days later to verify if she was able to access the resources provided to her. Client stated that she was able to make contact with the resources provided except for The Housing Authority of the County of Kern to obtain rental assistance. 2-1-1 was able to verify the contact information for the Housing Authority, and encouraged the client to try making contact again. Client requested a direct number so that she may contact a specific I&R directly when she calls 2-1-1 as she was extremely satisfied with the service provided. Caller informed that any Information & Referral Specialist could assist her when she calls in. Client was grateful for the resources provided and the customer service she had received. She was especially satisfied with the follow up call, she stated that she would definitely call back to 2-1-1 in the future.

2-1-1 Kern County is a program operated by Community Action Partnership of Kern, and is also supported by the Kern County Public Health Services Department and the United Way of Kern County.

Blanton Child Development Center
The parent of one of our Infant students has shown an amazing educational effort. This young teen mom has shown determination, courage and strength during her time as part of Blanton CDC. Mom is always working on better educating herself and always states that she plans on finishing school because she wants to provide her child with the best future possible. “I love my baby and she deserves the best.” This mom is sure showing that amazing love for her child. This teen mom has worked from 8am-8pm at times just to make sure she has enough income for herself and her child. She is now enrolled in school and working in the afternoons so she can continue to provide everything her child needs. This mom states that if it was not for daycare she does not know how she would do it with work and school, and she is very grateful for everything we do for her and her child.

The Blanton Child Development Center is a program of Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Children’s Mobile Immunization Program
In the third quarter from 2020-21, of all patients who responded to our survey, 61% were first time patients; 48% learned about the program from friends or family, and 24% learned about the program from a school. One hundred percent (100%) of patient responses indicated they would return for future immunization services, and 82% rated their care as ‘excellent’. When asked how CMIP could better serve them and the community, patients provided all positive responses. A few of the responses received were:
“Excellent services, very friendly and helpful”
“Nothing you guys are great”
“Seguir igual con su gran servicio a toda nuestra comunidad muchas gracias a todos ustedes gracias”
“Everything was great. Love their services”

The Children’s Mobile Immunization Program is a program of Adventist Health

Differential Response Services
Children were placed in the care of Maternal Grandfather due to mother’s referrals and safety concerns for the children. They were brought to the grandfather with minimal items. The case was referred to the case manager in KRV from Ridgecrest to assist the grandfather with services. Accomplishments: Grandfather had the six-year-old enrolled in school very quickly and also got him involved with the Boys and Girls Club to help with socializing. The family was living in a two bedroom apartment at the time with not enough rooms for all cohabitating family members. The family ultimately found a four bedroom house and moved within 30 days. The new house provided adequate space for all family members. The grandfather has been in contact with GBLA and is working on guardianship of the boys and is also filing for custody of his two granddaughters who are 13 and 15 years-old. The grandfather has been able to sustain for all needs of the children and continues to work hard to ensure that the children are safe.

Differential Response Services is a program of Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Family Caregiver Project
COVID-19 challenges have brought an opportunity of employment for community health workers. We recently had an opportunity to employ two participants that took the 6-week parents curriculum workshop. The participants were inspired by our mission and vision, and had the opportunity to advocate, educate and promote the importance of continuing using safety measures and to schedule a vaccine appointment as they connect one on one in the community. Parents reporting with positive thank you letters to Vision y Compromiso, acknowledging the importance of making time to learn, listen and share the experience of other parents and provides. “LA CARRETA DEBE CAMINAR EN UNA

The Family Caregiver Project is a program of Vision y Compromiso.

Greenfield School Readiness
One of the advocates  was working with a student who had no prior early childhood education. The child had just turned four and the parents were worried that she would have difficulty once she enters kindergarten. Through weekly instruction and lessons from the advocate. The child has learned all of her numbers up to 20 and has started to learn up to 30. She can name all of her letters and knows some letter sounds. She also knows opposites and loves to color. She uses correct pencil grasp when she holds her crayons and pencils. Our last Advocate, has been working with a family with a student that didn’t like to go to school. This child hates going to school and was a struggle to get her to attend 2 days per week last year. Now that she is in home learning, she loves it, gets up requesting mother to do hair, choses her clothes and sits on her table begins by tracing name, then follows the daily routine our advocate has assigned. Once she is done mother explains the activities for that specific day, child doesn’t give mother a hard time. Advocate has conducted home delivery packets and its being able to talk to child from vehicle, asking how is she liking the activities and she replies that she finishes everything and says thank you for the stickers. Mother and father are considering homeschooling child since she is doing good.

Greenfield School Readiness is a program of the Greenfield Union School District

Guardianship Caregiver Project
We represented a grandmother of a young child whose parents were arrested and then incarcerated a few years ago. CPS informally placed the child with grandmother and everything went very well. As the child aged, grandmother realized that the time was coming when the child was going to need to be enrolled in school. Also, grandmother had been able to get the child immunizations, but there was a possibility that this child had a more serious condition. The caregiver affidavit she used, would not be sufficient for more serious treatment. Grandmother realized that it was time for her to formalize the legal arrangement by obtaining a guardianship. The First Five Guardianship unit took the case and filed for a guardianship. All parties were served and the court found that a guardianship was “necessary and convenient,” as required under the legal standards. We were able to obtain letters and orders which prove grandmother’s guardianship. Grandmother is now able to seek specialized screening and medical treatment on behalf of the child and also provide him with a more safe and stable environment.

The Guardianship Caregiver Project is a program of Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.

Health Literacy Program
The Health Literacy Program has continued parent and child education about the importance of health and wellness. This year has been especially trying for families and children that are trying to remain healthy both mentally and physically during a pandemic. Parents are trying to juggle so many things including job loss, educating their children from home, time management, exhaustion and fear. At this time, more than ever, it seems that parents are really engaging in the Choosy lesson plans and materials because it is something that they are not getting anywhere else. For instance, recipes that are easy to make with your children and full of nutrients to keep your body healthy. The reminder that physical activity is absolutely essential for young children and they need to be active, at minimum, 60 minutes a day. Strategies are shared for incorporating these healthy lifestyle changes into their daily routines.

Several families have expressed to the teaching staff how much it means to them and their children that we are continuing to engage and educate them during this difficult time. One of the parents mentioned that she is very grateful for the staff’s support and all the activities being provided. She thanked the teacher for sending the Choosy activities because she is getting new ideas on nutritious meals and how to keep her daughter physically active. The parent said adjusting to her children being at home all the time has been difficult, but the activities provided makes it easier to keep her children busy. She said her daughter also tried peas for the first time because the Choosy puppet motivated her to try something new. The parent also stated that each time she sees her teachers face on a video call she sees how happy it makes her. Maintaining these positive relationships and providing this support is essential to the family’s health and wellness and these workshops are achieving that outcome right now even from a distance.

The Health Literacy Program is a program of the Bakersfield Adult School/Kern Union High School District

Help Me Grow Kern County
Recently, an ASQ-3 was completed for a child. Parent contacted 2-1-1 for weatherization services and was surprised 2-1-1 offered developmental screenings for children ages 0-5. Dad immediately agreed to completing an ASQ-3 as he had concerns about child’s inability to focus and having difficulty learning the alphabet and numbers. Dad was informed that because he had concerns, he will be receiving a call back from the Help Me Grow Care Coordinator to address concerns. Caller was thankful for services provided, but most importantly thankful that he would have an opportunity to speak to a professional about his concerns.

Help Me Grow Kern County is a program of Community Action Partnership of Kern in partnership with First 5 Kern

One of the IMPACT providers who has worked with our program for the past 5 years has achieved great success. She has managed to accomplish her dream of a separate area for her in-home child care and is no longer using her dining area and living room. She has grown in the use of all the tools that Kern Early Stars (KES) has shared and went as far as to purchase the training modules using her own money, and passed the tests required to become a certified Pre-K CLASS observer. She is the first FCC provider participating in KES to accomplish this. She is bilingual and is able to use this knowledge to support all of our participants with CLASS if needed. Even though she will not be rated, she continues to perform as if she is and completes DRDP’s on Learning Genie, ASQ’s, physicals, FCCER’s, and references her CLASS knowledge to meet her goals.

IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) is a program of First 5 California in partnership with Kern County Superintendent of School and the Kern Early Stars program.

Infant/Toddler Program
The CASA was assigned to a sibling set of 2 children, ages 2 and 4 years old. The children were residing with their parents, and behind in all areas of communication, gross and fine motor skills, problem solving and personal-social. The CASA assessed the children using the ASQ-3 and the children’s scores were below target. The parents were resistant to approving specialized services for the children so the CASA notified the Social Worker of the results and continued to work with the children. The CASA re-tested the children 3 months later and the children were still very behind in all areas. The CASA was able to utilize the ASQ-3 results by reporting the scores to the Social Worker and Court who agreed the children were in need of services. Using the ASQ-3 results the social worker referred the children to speech services and physical therapy and the Court was able to order the parents work with the Social Worker and CASA so the children would and could receive services. The children are currently progressing at a good rate to catch up to the appropriate development level for their respective ages due to the services they were able to receive by utilizing the ASQ-3 screening.

The Infant/Toddler Program is a program of Court Appointed Special Advocates

Kern Valley Aquatics Program
*Letter from a participant’s parent: “My son has been afraid of water since he was an infant. He cried at bath time. As he grew older, he was okay with bath time, but did not ever want to get into a swimming pool unless he was hanging off an adult. When he was 5, I decided he needed swim lessons to conquer his fear of being in the water. He cried and cried the first day, and we muddled through the mommy and me class with infants and toddlers. I enrolled him for swim lessons the next three summers, and he has conquered his fear of water, swims with confidence on top of the water and under the water. I thank you Ms. Danica and your staff for teaching my son the skills he needed to be a confident swimmer.”

The Kern Valley Aquatics Program is a program of the South Fork Union School District

Medically Vulnerable Care Coordination Project
Infant at risk for communicable disease not covered by California Children’s Services (CCS) was referred to Valley Children’s hospital (VCH) infection disease (ID) specialist by NICU discharging provider. Infant was set up with well-child medical visits through high-3risk infant clinic at Kern Medical; however, parents of infant did not enroll infant in Medi-Cal managed care plan. Additional barriers to care included transportation, language barrier, lack of knowledge of disease process, and difficulty obtaining prescribed medications. MCAH-MVCCP coordinated initial response through public health field nursing to provide education to parents on disease process and risk to infant, importance of prophylactic medication adherence, signs & symptoms of adverse medication reactions, and education on importance of follow-up evaluation by medical providers. Parents of infant was provided education in their native language using interpreter services and were provided culturally competent care. Parents of infant were able to enroll child in Medi-Cal managed care insurance and keep VCH appointment with infectious disease specialist. VCH social worker was consulted and agreed to assist the family with transportation costs by supplying gas card to defray the cost, unfortunately, the social worker was unable to meet with the family the day of the appointment and did not supply the gas card. Medication prescribed by ID specialist denied by Medi-Cal related to medication not on the formulary. MCAH-MVVCP was able to partner with an independent compounding pharmacy who agreed to supply the medication at no charge to the family; future refills will require ID specialist to complete treatment authorization request process.
The MVCCP is a project of the County of Kern Public Health Services Department

Medically Vulnerable Infant Program
Late Pre-term patient-35 weeks. Gestational Age at 23 months birth age. History of small size for gestational age, respiratory distress syndrome and very low birth weight, discordant fetal growth and developmental delay. Nurse and mother have been monitoring speech and note lack of advancement in vocabulary, regression, and only saying 1 word. Also, an increase in frustration is noted when the patient is unable to express her needs. Our nurse explored agree-appropriate developmental milestones and encouraged mom to collaborate with an early interventionist, pediatrician and Kern Regional Center to request speech therapy. An evaluation was completed with Affiliated Speech and the child was found to be eligible for weekly sessions.

The Medically Vulnerable Infant Program is a program of Clinica Sierra Vista

Neighborhood Place Community Learning Center
This 4 year old and has shown progress as he has continued with Virtual LIVE program. As of January, he participates in the 4 & 5 Ready to Strive class. His teachers have worked closely with the parent, providing suggestions on assisting her child to become more engaged. Because of mom’s efforts and support of the teachers, he is now more engaged and has learned the technology functions when prompted by the teachers. He can now verbally identify letters and numbers, he is more comfortable talking to the teachers and will mimic what the teachers say. We are proud to report that he is progressing in all areas and has come a long way and we have set goals for him. Mom and teachers are continuous with communication to help him be successful.

The Neighborhood Place Community Learning Center is a project of the North of the River Recreation and Parks District

Nurse Family Partnership Program
Client is a recent Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) graduate with many reasons to celebrate. She has accomplished so many of her goals within the NFP program and will no doubt continue to be successful moving forward. Client is 21 years old and she has recently celebrated her daughter’s second birthday in August. She has been so attentive and caring to her daughters learning new skills, as she can now stack about 10 blocks on top of each other, knock them down, and keeps stacking, all while mom is cheering her on with claps, smiles and praise! She has mastered the NFP animal puzzle incentive, that is one of her favorite activities. She also loves books and continues to learn new words by sign language. She is ready to move on to her new 2-year-old milestones because her mom has lovingly taught her so many foundational skills. Client also will be welcoming her second baby in February 2021. Client has already sought early prenatal care and is utilizing all her skills and intuition learned from NFP program over these last 2 1/2 years. She is back on track continuing her education at Bakersfield College taking her last four online courses to graduate with an Associate Degree soon. She also returned to work at an elementary school and is working part time. She has secured great childcare with a family member and now has her own car. She continues to manage her time well. She is also adaptable by being receptive to telehealth services as COVID prevented Home visits.

She stated “My nurse Nellie and other NFP staff have genuinely helped me become a better parent. Nurse Nellie felt like a friend always checking up on me when I needed her. Joining this program was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

The Nurse Family Partnership Program is a program of the County of Kern Public Health Services Department

Richardson Special Needs Collaborative
A teacher from Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) referred a 3-year-old child to the Richardson Special Needs Collaborative. The teacher’s reason for referral was to assist family with basic needs and guidance on services available for child. The family was in need of guidance on getting behavioral services and referral to a neurologist. The family consists of a single mother who is unable to work because of health conditions and three children. The parent shared concerns with the advocate about her daughter’s aggressive behavioral towards the family. She is concerned for the family’s safety at times. Parent expressed interest in creating a SMART Goal for seeking a service that would provide behavioral needs for her child to improve her aggressive behavior at home. FSA provided information on how to start the process to obtain behavioral services. Goal and objectives were created with parent, and with some assistance the parent completed the requirements requested by her insurance and child started receiving behavioral therapy at home.

The parent’s second SMART Goal was to have her daughter referred to a neurologist, with which we assisted. The parent scheduled a doctor’s appointment and shared her concern with the doctor and received a referral for a neurologist. The outcome was that the child will be taking medication monitored by the neurologist, and the child continues making progress. The Collaborative will continue to provide ongoing support and basic needs for the family as necessary. It appears that this has been a successful experience for the family.

The Richardson Special Needs Collaborative is a program of Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Small Steps Child Development Center
I am pleased to announce that one of our parents in the toddler room who was enrolled in the center a couple years ago has made substantial strides. Mom was employed at the time COVID-19 hit, and was laid off. She took advantage of this time to enroll in college courses to further her education. This would not have been possible if she did not have care and support for her son at our center. Mom has now obtained a new job and is still enrolled in college courses. She has built a strong relationship with the staff and feels comfortable with asking for guidance to help her and her son grow and achieve their goals. The center was recently notified by mom that her son was accepted into a head start program to further aid him in his development. Small Steps has provided this mom and her child with the support she needed in providing him care in the beginning of his childcare center journey. We are not sure when he will be leaving, but this mother and child will be missed.

The Small Steps Child Development Center is a program of the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault

South Fork Preschool
During our distance learning, we had a mother contact us to ask for more work to be provided to her son. She said he was completing all the work within a day or two because when he got it he was so excited to do homework that he would sit down and complete it all at once without stopping. She thanked us for all of our effort put in to the learning binders and appreciated the Velcro activities because he could work on them multiple times. The mother mentioned it was nice for him to be able to do school work at home like his older siblings, he felt included and like a “big boy.”

South Fork Preschool is a program of the South Fork Union School District

Wind in the Willows Preschool
This quarter we have been able to work with a child who has been taken from his parents due to severe neglect and given to his grandparents. Due to his ‘failure to thrive’ status when he was removed from his parents’ home he has developmental delays. His age should place him in our Branch class but after counseling with his grandparents we agreed that it is in his best interest to be in our Twig class and for him to spend an extra year with us before beginning Kindergarten. We are so happy to have him and to get to work with him and we are seeing him grow in so many ways. Following the classroom flow is still a challenge for him at this point but he will get there.

Wind in the Willows Preschool is operated by the Wind in the Willows Education Organization

Women’s Shelter Network
Staff recently saw a name they recognized in the local police logs for domestic violence. This person reached out to our office seeking shelter in the past, but never showed. I continued to see incidents in the logs and this person continued to reach out to us, but never showed. Seeing this person/family in town, they would recognize me and give me a look like they knew I could help, but never broke confidentiality. This person was scared to reach out for help because the abuser is well known in town and they though no one would believe them or give them help. This person’s family was feeling the effect of the abuse, and they reached out to the center. I personally reached out to this person and was able to gain the trust for them to come to come to the office to get help and they did! They were able to utilize the proper resources and are now in their own permanent home away from the abuse. The process took more than a year for this person. People are scared; there are all kind of factors of why someone doesn’t seek help or leave the abuse. It may take a while for someone to make that choice and sometimes it may take many times, but we continue to put the information/resources out there to make people aware. All things are possible, with the proper resources and the compassionate people behind them!

The Women’s Shelter Network is a program of Women’s Center – High Desert, Inc.

First 5 Kern’s support of local FRCs and CRCs

In a county as expansive as Kern, with smaller, outlying communities, sometimes getting connected with the services you need for your family is a particularly challenging issue. First 5 Kern is proud to partner with various Family and Community Resource Centers throughout the county to help make those connections possible.

Arvin Family Resource Center
In September 2020, a parent arrived at the Arvin FRC office requesting a particular family advocate via a referral from a woman she had met at a medical office in Los Angeles. Mom needed Medi-Cal for both her and her family as she has a four-year-old son who has a medical condition and needs care. The family had recently moved to Kern County from LA County. Prior to moving to Kern County, Mom struggled with getting LA County to transferring her case to Kern, and due to COVID-19 the offices were closed and services had to be done via phone. This created barriers for her son’s medical treatments. Unable to transfer her case to Kern County, mom still had to take her child to his medical appointments in LA. At this particular time Mom stated she felt lost, stressed, and depressed over the situation and did not know where to go for assistance. One day while waiting for a medical appointment at the children’s hospital in LA, mom started a conversation with another lady and shared her situation. It turns out, the other lady was from Arvin and she too was there for her child’s medical treatment. The new friend recommended her to go to the Arvin FRC and talk to a particular family advocate. She shared with mom how he will help her get everything situated with Medi-Cal and answer any questions. Soon after, mom arrived at the Arvin FRC and was able to meet and talk with the family advocate. She shared how she was referred to him and was told that he will help remedy her situation. Within a week, the family advocate had arranged for her Medi-Cal to be transferred to Kern County and her son was now able to make appointments in Bakersfield where his medical needs are being fully met. This is a great example of how “word of mouth” can be so instrumental to how the community is referred to the FRC. Treating our clients with respect and ensuring that their needs are met is our priority and we are elated that with the support of First 5, the Arvin Family Resource Center able to ensure the family’s medical needs were met. Thank you First 5.

The Arvin Family Resource Center is a program of the Arvin Union School District

Buttonwillow Community Resource Center
We had a family move into Buttonwillow recently from out of state. This family had no health insurance, and their children needed physicals; one of the girls is a special needs child and needed assistance with getting her enrolled here at the Buttonwillow Union School. We were also able to assist the family with getting beds, blankets, clothing, diapers, food and masks, cleaning wipes and a thermometer. We signed them up for Medi-Cal, we linked them to Kern Regional Center, we referred her to EDD for her husband and to Social Security for her daughter. We are providing case management services and home based activities. Through partnership with the school we had a staff member and her family “adopt” this family, and provide items that this family was in need of. She is so grateful for all the assistance that we were able to give her during this difficult times, that she comes and volunteers during our food distributions when she is able too.

The Buttonwillow Community Resource Center is a program of the Buttonwillow Union School District

Delano School Readiness
A recent client to the family resource center became a single parent due to the sudden passing of her husband. She is raising four children ages two months to 8 years of age, and has also been raising her younger sibling, who is a teenager. When she came into Community Connections Center, she was anxious about her financial instability. We were able to assist her with utility assistance, food, diapers and wipes. We reached out to a community member who donated a $100 gift card from Wal-Mart. One of the goals that the client said for herself is to be able to find a job. The client stated that coming to talk with the case worker assisted her with her mental health. The client was able to accomplish one of her goals, to get a job, which she said also has helped her with her mental state.

Delano School Readiness is a program of the Delano Union School District

East Kern Family Resource Center
Little Boy (LB) was signed up the Home Based program. LB appeared to be shy; he was quiet and would not engage in activities. When asked a question he would look away or put his head down. During his first Zoom meeting he cried even though he was sitting in a highchair with parents at his side. Mom shared that his first language is Spanish and she would like for to learn in English as well. Case Manager (CM) spoke to LB in English and Spanish during Zoom sessions. Her goal was to make him feel comfortable and to respect the Mom’s desire for him to learn in both languages. He soon became familiar with his Zoom meetings and comfortable with the CM, who observed positive incremental improvement during each Zoom. LB began to speak up, participate and became excited to do his activities. During his Home based meetings LB learned his numbers, colors, letters and shapes in English and demonstrated growing English verbal skills in each. The CM referred LB to the Play and Learn class, as his progress demonstrated that this would be a great next step, so he was enrolled in the 3-year old class. Although it was difficult at first, the Instructor continued to encourage him, and he began to learn from observing his classmates. The boy is eager to learn. Mom shared with the Case Manager that she is truly appreciative of the First 5 program. She acknowledged that not everyone can teach children and that it takes special humans with love for children to be able to work with children of all kinds. Mom has since referred her brother, sister-in-law, sister, niece and a coworker. “This program makes a difference in children’s lives!” she said.

The East Kern Family Resource Center is a program of Community Action Partnership of Kern

Kern River Valley Family Resource Center
A client recently came into the KRV Family Resource Center needing resources for housing, as the client was homeless and living in a tent at the KOA. She was in need of diapers and Clothing for her child. Staff went over our Great Beginnings Program with the client, who filled out our referral. The staff was able to give the client resources to property management companies in our community, as well as updated rental listings. Staff was able to refer the client to The Pregnancy Resource Center for diapers and wipes, and to City Serve for clothing needs for her and her child. In all, staff connected the client to 14 different agencies to help with their needs.

As of today, the client is now renting to buy the home the family is currently living in. The client has also been having medical issues, and is applying for Social Security Insurance and receiving transportation from staff to doctors’ appointments and to SSI doctors in Bakersfield. Client is now working on our SMART goal that will have the child on a Daily Routine for Distance learning during COVID-19. The client has made a space in the kitchen for a work area for the child to do daily Zoom sessions with the teacher. The staff is very proud of the client and child. Both have come so far on accomplishing goals in the time we have started working together.

The Kern River Valley Family Resource Center is a program of the Kernville Union School District

Lamont/Vineland School Readiness Program
We received a referral in the fall from the school site of a mother whose husband had died of COVID and was pregnant and had both 0-5 and school-aged children as well. Mom was obviously devastated, and trying to figure out how to support her family. The Family Advocate made contact with the mom and has been working with her since. Although we are continuing to support the family, they are in a much better place now due to the support of the Advocate. First, the Family Advocate worked to identify their basic needs and assisted the family with food and clothing. We were able to get Food Bank assistance, and received a donation from Lion’s Club to help them as well. They needed cleaning supplies, diapers, and clothing, all of which we were able to provide due to the generous donations we received from First 5 Kern and Kern Family Healthcare funding. The mother also had no supplies for the baby, and we were able to get a crib, high chair, and other items donated to help them be ready for the baby. And while there will continue to be needs for support, the mother has expressed that they are in a much better place due to the assistance they have received, and that she is very grateful to be aware of the Family Resource Center and the resources available here and through the SRI program.

The Lamont/Vineland School Readiness Program is a program of the Lamont School District

Lost Hills Family Resource Center
Recently, one former client of ours moved back to the area after losing her job during COVID. She moved in with her parents and reached out to us requested services. The client opened up about the struggles she had when she moved out of Lost Hills. The place where she was staying had no warm water, a lot of crime in the neighborhood, and lack of home hygiene from the room mates the combination of all this made her return back with her parents. We were sad to hear her story but excited to see she was back and we will help this parent with our services. The parent was requesting center-based child care in particular since she was going to start working. This was an issue since our center based was full to its max. Due to COVID-19 and CDC regulations we could only have 13 children attend in-person versus the normal 24. We offered our home-based services and the option of distance learning via Facebook option, yet mother was in great need of center-based because it will allowed her to work. We spoke with the Coordinator of the Migrant Department referring this parent to their services. One week later the child started center-based services with the migrant department. We were able to offer our case management services to this parent and we are currently focusing on a plan to support this family.

The Lost Hills Family Resource Center is a program of the Lost Hill Union School District

McFarland Family Resource Center
During the pandemic we had one of our case managed/SRI families contact COVID. This is a family of five with two parents, one biological child, and two adopted nieces whose parents had passed in a car accident. The family notified us that they would not be able to pick up the SRI packet because they were in quarantine. The Family Advocate and the Program Assistant immediately packed up a food box, cleaning supplies, masks and sanitizers donated by First 5 Kern and delivered it to the family along with the SRI packets. While the family was in quarantine the FRC helped them with supportive services such as rent and utility assistance. The FA kept in constant contact with the family offering our assistance. The family is still being case managed and was referred for the COVID vaccine that the district had set up for the staff and community. The child is currently attending the SRI class, and the family is doing great. The FRC will continue to support them as long as needed.

The McFarland Family Resource Center is a program of McFarland Unified School District

Mountain Communities Family Resource Center
We have recently been assisting a young family that has three children under 5 years old. All three children were premature and have varying special needs. Services for the children’s special needs were established pre-case management. Dad works full time and mom gets to stay at home with the three little ones. Mom loves being at home and is working hard to meet the children’s home school needs and has received case management from us. Her goal was to feel more productive during the day by establishing a routine that included the children helping out with household chores and creating fun family activities out of everyday tasks. With the help of her case manager, mom made a schedule and chart with chores for each child. She let each child pick a favorite song/soundtrack to listen to while doing these chores. The children are enjoying being mommy’s helper. COVID restrictions have been hard on the family and somedays mom says she feels very isolated but even during a pandemic her children have all learned to ride their bicycles. The case manager is setting up zoom meetings and has provided activities from the First5 Kern website to help occupy the children and reinforce academic learning. The case manager makes weekly check-in calls with mom to encourage self-care and community interaction through social media and connecting with friends that have young children to minimize isolation.

The Mountain Communities Family Resource Center is a project of the El Tejon Unified School District

Shafter Healthy Start
One recent client is a single mother of a 1 yr. who was referred to differential response for a domestic violence case which involved her and the child. She obtained a 3 yr. restraining order against the alleged perpetrator and was referred to counseling with the Alliance Against Family Violence. Mom also completed parenting classes through Shafter Healthy Start and received a certificate of completion. She continues to attend counseling and is currently enrolled in classes at BC College. We were able to close this case as successful. During the duration of the case being open we were able to supply the mom with diapers, wipes, a car seat and a pack-n-play for the child. We also provided food baskets for her family and a couple of gas cards to her help her make it to her appointments.

Shafter Healthy Start is a program of Richland School District

Southeast Neighborhood Partnership Family Resource Center
Our first On-line parenting class last fall during the pandemic was a total success. We started with 12 participants and graduated a total of 10. Seven participants were from metro Bakersfield and three from Ridgecrest that graduated. There were some challenges, such as finding an internet platform that would work for us. Once we decided to use Zoom application, the task became educating clients on how to navigate through the application and become familiar in how to use it. Overall the learning curve was short, and we were up and running in on time. We received several updated from our graduates after graduation of successful reunifications with their children which made our efforts so worthwhile.

Southeast Neighborhood Partnership FRC is a program of Clinica Sierra Vista

West Side Outreach and Learning Center
A parent had filled out a scholarship request for our preschool program prior to the announcement that we would be First 5 funded. When I called her to let her know that we were able to offer her daughter preschool at no cost, she was so very thankful and told us how this would be a huge financial relief to her family. The family had decided to make some sacrifices to be able to afford preschool at a potentially discounted rate (using the STOP program), but learning that there would be no cost at all was a true blessing to them.

West Side Outreach and Learning Center is a program of the West Side Recreation and Parks District