Expanding access to high-quality early care and education


Alameda County’s early childhood care and education system has been fragmented and underfunded for years, impacting thousands of families and children. As of 2021, there were nearly 7,000 children living in Alameda County on the state's waiting list for subsidized child care, and there is a significant gap in access to subsidies for income-eligible families with an unmet need of 91 percent of eligible infants and toddlers and 46 percent of eligible preschool children. 

Fortunately, a recent influx of funding is now poised to address these longstanding inequities, presenting a rare opportunity to transform the early care and education system in Alameda County. First 5 is actively engaged in implementing two ballot measures to address long-standing inequities in early childhood programming: the Oakland Children’s Initiative (Measure AA) and The Children’s Health & Child Care Initiative for Alameda County (Measure C).

As our state continues to make strides toward ensuring that every child receives the care and education they need, we’re here to make sure providers and families don’t miss out on these critical opportunities. Read more about these measures below!

What is the Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative for Alameda County (Measure C)?


In March 2020, Alameda County voters passed the Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative for Alameda County (Measure C), a half-cent sales tax that will generate approximately $150 million annually for expanding access to early childhood education and care. Measure C names First 5 Alameda County as the administrator of the Child Care, Preschool, and Early Education portion of the revenue, amounting to 80 percent of the generated funds. It was upheld by the California Supreme Court in April 2024, granting First 5 the right to move forward. 

Revenue generated through Measure C will:

  • Enhance the access and quality of early care and education programming
  • Improve compensation for participating early care and education providers
  • Enhance professional development programs and the eligibility and enrollment system for providers
  • Improve community spaces for children and families–such as parks, libraries, and family resource centers

Over the next year, First 5 will develop a five-year program plan and annual budget under the advisement of a Community Advisory Council (CAC) and in direct collaboration with community partners to ensure effective fund distribution. 

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Alameda County Early Care & Education Planning Council (Local Planning Council) will appoint a total of 11 members to the CAC by August 22, 2024, as required and outlined in the Measure C ordinance (Section 2.08.304). The Board of Supervisors will appoint five members to the CAC. The Local Planning Council will appoint six members to the CAC



How will First 5 connect Alameda County communities to Measure C resources?


As a public agency dedicated to building a comprehensive and coordinated early childhood system, First 5 Alameda County is uniquely positioned to administer Measure C funding. We have served Alameda County communities for over 25 years by funding innovative programs and advocating for policies that support children ages zero to five, birthing people, families, caregivers, early care educators, and providers. Our efforts have benefited over 325,000 children and 250,000 parents and providers. 

Our goal is to implement a seamless process for families to access high-quality early care and education programs. First 5 will communicate next steps for the community over the coming months. In the meantime, please subscribe to receive updates here.

Click here to access resources with more information about Measure C in multiple languages.


What is the Oakland Children’s Initiative (Measure AA)?


The Oakland Children’s Initiative (Measure AA) is funded by a parcel tax projected to provide approximately $30 million annually in funding for early care and education and college preparedness programs for Oakland residents. The Oakland Children’s Initiative, was passed in November 2018 and upheld by the courts in 2021. In December 2022, First 5 Alameda County was awarded the contract to serve as the Early Care and Education Implementation Partner for the Oakland Children’s Initiative. 

First 5 Alameda County commits to the responsible stewardship of these precious public resources, in partnership with the City of Oakland, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, community governance and advisory bodies, and other early care and education partners, particularly parents/caregivers and early care and education professionals. 


How do Measure AA and Measure C benefit Oakland and Alameda County’s early care and education system? 


The Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative for Alameda County (Measure C) funding will complement, leverage, and augment the investments made by the Oakland Children’s Initiative (Measure AA). Together, they will benefit Oakland and Alameda County’s early childhood system of care broadly and position First 5 Alameda County as the county’s only governmental agency solely dedicated to families and caregivers with children 0-5 by:

  • Aligning new investment with our current investments and providing resources for backbone support to the early childhood system
  • Allowing us to leverage our subject matter expertise, community partnerships, and infrastructure​
  • Facilitating integration with our programming and fiscal leveraging of Proposition 10, Measure AA and Measure C, in addition to federal, state, local, and philanthropic funds
  • Liberating the flexible Proposition 10 dollars to fund other components of the early childhood system (e.g., birth equity, neighborhood investments)
  • Shifting our role, budget, operations, scale (i.e., staff and contracts), and community and public partnerships

What investments are happening at the state level?


At the state level, California is implementing an unprecedented set of initiatives to redesign its social safety net, including Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK), California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), and the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI). 


For additional questions, please email Strategic Communications Officer Itzel Diaz-Romo at itzel.diaz-romo@first5alameda.org.