In 1998, the voters of California approved Proposition 10 on the ballot, the Children and Families First Initiative. This Proposition imposes a surcharge on the sale of tobacco products, with the funds collected by the State. The State then distributes these funds, with 20% going to the California Children and Families Commission and the remaining 80% going to the 58 counties. These county allocations are designed to support the work of local County Commissions, with the amount of funds based on the number of live births in the county.
All these funds are earmarked for programs and services aimed at improving the lives of children prenatal to five years of age and their families. This Proposition generated approximately $700 million statewide during its first full year of operation. Solano County's allocation during fiscal year 1998 - 99 was $3,000,000 and for fiscal year 1999 - 2000, the first full year, was $5,500,00. These revenues decrease steadily over time as people reduce their use of tobacco products or find sources for these products that do not generate California sales tax revenues.
The First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission was established by an ordinance passed by the Solano County Board of Supervisors on June 8, 1999. The ordinance defined the number of Commissioners as nine, the maximum allowed under Proposition 10, which mandates that local commissions include a member of the Board of Supervisors and two representatives of the County Health and Social Services Departments. First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission has independent authority to allocate its funds in accordance with its Strategic Plan.
The Commission funds many programs within the community and First 5 funds are an integral part of the safety net for children's and family programs in Solano County. The Commission has begun deliberating on it's own future, faced with declining funds, Solano County's allocation during fiscal year 2009-10 was $3,954,618, and has begun identifying strategies to increase First 5 Solano's capacity to continue these critical community investments.
2014 Commission Officers and Appointees are:
- Chair, Commissioner Jay Speck
- Vice-Chair, Commissioner Aaron Crutison
- Systems and Policy Committee Chair, Commissioner Crutison (members: Commissioners Barbosa and Speck)
- Program and Community Engagement Committee Chair, Commissioner Stephan Betz (members: Commissioners Niedzela and Hannigan)
The Commission has two Committees, which generally meet monthly.
- Systems and Policy Committee: oversees administrative and operational issues.
- Program and Community Engagement Committee: oversees programmatic issues and the implementation of the Communications Plan and community engagement activities.
Proposition 10 defined the primary areas for funding to be Parent Education and Family Support, Child Care and Early Childhood Education, and Health and Well-Being. Within Solano County, the Commission has more tightly defined its focus in each of these areas.
- Early development and education/school readiness
- Access to health care
- High-quality, affordable child care
- Access to prenatal care
- Parent education and support
Commissioners who served in the past are:
- Commissioner Dee Alarcón
- Commissioner Ellen Blaufarb (1999-2005)
- Commissioner Nancy Calvo (1999-2005)
- Commissioner Stephen Chun, MD (1999-2002)
- Commissioner Sheryl Fairchild (2003-2012)
- Commissioner Laura Fowler (1999-2004)
- Commissioner Debbee Gossell (2003-2012)
- Commissioner Willie Graham, Rev. (1999-2003)
- Commissioner Barbara Kondylis (1999-2009)
- Commissioner Lisa Luke Lee (1999-2003)
- Commissioner Jan Maguire (2003-2007)
- Commissioner Maureen Mcsweeney (1999-2007)
- Commissioner Randolph Thomas, MD (2002-2003)
- Commissioner Sharon Tucker, MD (2005-2009)
- Commissioner Stephan Betz (2011 - 2014)