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Dual Language Learner

In 2017, the First 5 California Commission approved funding to support a Dual Language Learner (DLL) Pilot that will examine culturally and linguistically responsive and effective teaching practices and strategies for the development of DLL children ages 0 to 5 in early learning settings. This effort is aimed to better support DLLs across California and to recommend scalable, implementable, and effective models and practices. First 5 California’s DLL Pilot will increase early educators’, families’, and the general public’s awareness about the benefits of bilingualism and home language through the participation of Pilot sites, the Talk. Read. Sing.® campaign, and First 5 California’s parent website. It also will share assessments of effective DLL practices and provide content for early childhood education preparation programs.

The anticipated investment for the First 5 California DLL Pilot is approximately $20 million over five years (FY 2016–17 through 2020–21), supplemented by local investments to leverage state funds. As of October 2017, First 5 California awarded the American Institutes for Research (AIR) the evaluation contractor for the DLL pilot.

For more information about the research team and study design, please see AIR’s website:

Additional background is available in the DLL Pilot Study Fact sheet and other documents below.

If you have questions related to the Dual Language Learner Pilot, please e-mail the DLL team at .

DLL Pilot Expansion Phase

First 5 California is pleased to announce the release of the DLL Pilot Expansion Request for Application (RFA). The expansion phase of funding is available to the 16 counties currently implementing the DLL Pilot In-depth phase activities. The funding offered through this RFA hones the DLL Pilot investment to help counties focus on effective and scalable strategies for serving DLL and immigrant children and families during the COVID-19 public health emergency and through recovery from pandemic.

The RFA and forms are available in the Expansion Phase folder under Dual Language Learner Documents below. Please complete and submit the application using the link: Due date to submit applications is Friday, August 14, 2020.

First 5 California DLL Professional Development (PD) Grantees Webinar

Early Edge California hosted a webinar on July 20, 2020, for the First 5 California DLL Pilot-participating counties and their partners to learn about several DLL-specific training programs based in California. These programs were funded as part of a $5M allocation in the 2018 California state budget to provide educators with professional development specific to DLLs. The webinar recoding and materials are available on Early Edge California’s web site at the following link:

Dual Language Learner Documents

Additional Dual Language Learner Resources

Small Population County Funding Augmentation

First 5 California’s Small Population County Funding Augmentation (SPCFA) program provides funding to augment annual tax revenues to local First 5 Commissions in counties with small populations and low birth rates.

Originally initiated in Fiscal Year 1999-2000, the First 5 California Commission provided additional funding of up to $200,000 to small population counties to help ensure the implementation of Proposition 10 was truly a statewide effort. On January 26, 2017, the State Commission approved up to $8.625 million in additional funding over four years (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2021) for 20 small population county commissions with low birth rates and to ensure core operations and services are sustained for children and families residing in these communities

In order to participate in SPCFA, counties agree to terms outlined in a Local Area Agreement framework to implement successful local systems, measure outcomes and monitor progress, and demonstrate quality improvement in three focused investment areas:

  • Developmental and Health Needs
  • Engaging and Supporting Families
  • High-Quality Early Learning/Early Educator Support and Effectiveness

For more information, please see the link below regarding documents related to SPCFA funding, FAQs, reporting forms, and an evaluation tool kit. If you would like to submit a question or comment regarding the SPCFA, you can do so by sending an email to In the subject line, please reference the specific county and program corresponding to the inquiry (e.g., re: Mono County dental health program).

SPCFA Documents

Home Visiting

Evidence-based early childhood home visiting (HV) has proven to help vulnerable children and families overcome barriers to health and well-being. With the rapid release of significant new funding from the State Budget for HV, and expectation to target the most vulnerable families through evidence-based programs, it is imperative California has a well-trained and supported workforce and that local agencies coordinate HV services to maximize impact on family well-being.

In July 2019, the Commission approved up to $2 million over a two-year period for a contracted evaluator to conduct a study of the current HV workforce, project future workforce needs, and recommend policy and infrastructure investments to address the workforce gap. In February 2020, Child Trends was awarded a contract to carry out the workforce study.

Read about the Home Visiting Workforce Study in the PDF below:

Further, in October 2019, the F5CA State Commission approved up to $24 million in funding for fiscal years 2019–20 through 2024–2025 to help counties create a sustainable, unified local HV system that supports families with the services they need and to maximize available funding to serve more families. A Request for Application (RFA) for HV coordination (HVC) funding will be released in Spring 2020.

For more information about the home visiting workforce study or HVC funding, please email the HV team at

Below are the RFA and required forms for Home Visiting Coordination Funding. Applications are due June 30, 2020, and may be submitted using the Survey Monkey HV Coordination Application Link.

Please read the important Memo below about how counties’ Local Assistance Agreements for HVC funding will be recast through the lens of COVID-19 recovery.

PowerPoint slides and Audio Recording from the May 15, 2020, HVC Funding Webinar

Prior First 5 Program Investments and Evaluation Reports

Since 2000, First 5 California (F5CA) has invested over $492 million in improving the quality of early learning settings and supporting the quality of the early childhood workforce in California. Research shows high-quality early learning programs improve school readiness and lead to better long-term academic achievement. High-quality early education helps reduce unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse, high school dropout rates, and crime. In particular, teacher effectiveness, and quality of adult-child interactions, are among the most important factors impacting the quality of early learning programs.

In 2000, F5CA launched its first investment in improving the quality of early learning through the Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) Program. CARES was developed to support the retention and the professional development and education of the early childhood workforce. The program transitioned into CARES Plus in 2011 with an emphasis on training and support for effective teacher-child interactions. From 2011 through 2016, CARES Plus served 16,600 participants by providing incentives, support systems, training, and technical assistance for early childhood educators, improving their education and increasing participation in targeted professional development. Evaluation of CARES Plus showed: 1) participants highly valued the program; 2) counties participating in the program collaborated with local partners to improve access to training and education; and 3) evidence-based training and coaching improved the quality of teacher-child interaction as assessed by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®).

In 2005, F5CA launched another effort to support the quality of early learning through the Power of Preschool (PoP) Program. PoP supported high-quality preschool in areas with low performing schools and provided tiered financial incentives based on meeting quality factors. In 2012, the program transitioned into the Child Signature Program (CSP) and expanded to serve high-quality infant-toddler programs. CSP annually served approximately 24,000 children in 1,300 classrooms during 2012–2015. CSP provided enhanced supports integrating proven elements from other successful F5CA programs and drew on F5CA’s partnership with the Educare quality learning model. Evaluation of CSP showed participating classrooms were of high quality as assessed by Environment Rating Scales and CLASS®.

In 2015, the F5CA State Commission transitioned from specific investments in the Child and Teacher Signature Programs (CSP and CARES Plus) to broader systems support through a five-year $190 million investment in First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) (link to page). First 5 IMPACT supports the early learning workforce and quality improvements in early learning settings through quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). This effort expands partnerships and creates new opportunities with an enhanced focus on sustainability by engaging the entire early learning site in continuous quality improvement.