Eight local programs that provide critical services to children younger than 5 as well as expectant parents have received a total of more than $1 million from First 5 San Luis Obispo.
The money will go to such services as dental and vision care for young children and help low-income people navigate the health care system.
“The funding supports programs that improve children’s health, such as vision treatment and peer breast-feeding assistance,” said Susan Hughes, First 5 executive director.
First 5 also funded an oral health coordinator position, which will provide coordination of services countywide, with the long-term goal of establishing a centralized, coordinated and sustained effort to address “this important and critical need,” Hughes said.
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“The grants will enhance the safety net of services for families with young children in our community,” said Julian Crocker, chairman of First 5.
First 5 was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, taxing cigarettes to fund education, health, child care and other programs.
First 5 San Luis Obispo County awarded $1,023,045 to eight local programs. The funding will take effect Jan. 1.
Programs that received money are:
• The San Luis Obispo Child Development Center, $253,396 for two early learning systems specialists countywide.
• The Paso Robles Unified School District, Georgia Brown Elementary school readiness program, $3,500 to add another summer pre-K program class to its Kindercamp program.
• Diringer and Associates, $120,010 to provide professional development for family advocates and others who interact with families that have low or no insurance coverage.
• Central Coast Link, $177,146 to hire a “health navigator,” who will work in North County to identify and link families to health coverage and care.
• Community Action Partnership of SLO County, $354,293 to hire two health navigators who will work in Central and South County to identify and link families to health coverage and care.
• Gary Englund and Associates, $7,200 to provide treatment to children younger than 5 who have vision disorders.
• The county Public Health Department, $64,000 to coordinate oral health services throughout the county and establish policies that increase access to and the quality of children’s oral health services.
• The county Public Health Department, $43,477 for the BABES breastfeeding program, which supports peer breastfeeding counseling services throughout San Luis Obispo County.