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Proposition 10 – The Children and Families Act of 1998

In November 1998, California voters passed Proposition 10, the “Children and Families Act of 1998″ initiative.  The act levies a tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to provide funding for early childhood development programs.  Revenues generated from the tobacco tax must be used to enhance the early growth experiences of children, enabling them to be more successful in school and ultimately to give them an equal opportunity to succeed in life.  Revenues must be used for the following specific purposes:

  • To create a comprehensive and integrated delivery system of information and services to promote early childhood development;
  • Support parenting education, child health and wellness, early child care and education, and family support services; and
  • Educate Californians on the importance of early childhood development and smoking cessation.

Tobacco tax revenues are collected at the state level.  Eighty percent of these funds are then allocated to the 58 counties according to annual birth rates.  The remaining twenty percent of the money is allocated to First 5 California to support statewide programs, research, and media campaigns.

Proposition 10 Strategic Results

1. Improved Child Health: Healthy Children.  Children who are healthy in mind, body and spirit grow up confident in their ability to live a fulfilling, productive life.  Healthy children have sufficient nutrition, health care, nurturing and guidance, and mental stimulation, and they live in families and communities that value them.

2. Improved Child Development: Children Learning and Ready for School.  The importance of preparing children to succeed in school is critical.  Skills that allow one to problem solve and think creatively are developed in early childhood education settings and nurtured through community and parental reinforcement.

3. Improved Family Functioning: Strong Families.  Successful and strong families are those that are able to provide for the physical, mental and emotional development of their children.  Young children are entirely dependent upon caregivers for survival, and nurturing parents and caregivers provide the foundation for a child’s ability to create successful relationships, solve problems and carry out responsibilities.

4. Improved Systems: Integrated, Consumer-Oriented, Accessible Services.  Many parents and caregivers with young children have difficulty in accessing existing forms of assistance, much less being able to learn about and utilize new services that are introduced.  Services must be made available in a culturally competent manner, embracing the differences in cultures and languages within the county.  The system of children and family services should also recognize the challenges faced by families whose children have disabilities or other special needs, and work to make services more accessible to these families.

First 5 County Commissions

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The duties of each county commission include evaluating the current and projected needs of young children and their families, developing a strategic plan that promotes a comprehensive and integrated system of early childhood development services that addresses community needs, determining how to expend local monies available from the state Children and Families Trust Fund, and evaluating the effectiveness of programs and activities funded in accordance with the strategic plan.  A requirement of the state laws governing the county commissions is to ensure that money from the Children and Families Trust Fund is not used to replace or “supplant” existing local funding for programs and services.  In other words, Proposition 10 funds must be used to increase the level of services available.

First 5 California

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The State Commission initiates, funds and oversees statewide projects to enhance various types of services related to early childhood development, conducts research on state-level issues and programmatic best practices, sponsors extensive media and public education campaigns, monitors legislation related to early childhood development issues, and serves various other roles to benefit children and families throughout the state.

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