Systems Change

This commentary was submitted by volunteer contributor Jess Berthold, Communications Director, First 5 Association of California.

In mid-August, First 5 joined with fellow early childhood advocates to launch All Together Now, a new campaign and rallying cry to amplify the need to make policies, practices, and systems better for California’s kids.

“The first five years offer a huge opportunity, when we can lay the tracks for kids to thrive socially, cognitively, and emotionally,” said Sarah Crow, managing director of First 5 Center for Children’s Policy, which is coordinating the campaign. “We know that healthy, resilient kids become well-rounded adults who create thriving communities—and this doesn’t happen by magic.”

All Together Now’s website contains common messaging, fact sheets, and social media assets to help equip advocates of all kinds—including parents and families—with communications tools to ensure young kids are prioritized in policy and budget decisions. Priority areas for the campaign include developmental screening, early intervention, paid family leave, home visiting, and early learning.

“When you sign on to receive All Together Now updates through the website, you’ll stay current on new resources and opportunities to push out early childhood messaging,” said Jess Berthold, communications director for First 5 Center for Children’s Policy and First 5 Association of California. “We’ll provide smart, strategic materials you can use to take quick action at times when important decisions are in play.”

The campaign is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Silver Giving Foundation, and the Bay Area Early Childhood Funders.

“Everyone in California benefits from strong families and healthy kids,” said Moira Kenney, executive director of First 5 Center for Children’s Policy and First 5 Association of California. “It’s time to dream big for our littlest kids.”