• First 5 Ventura County and Interface Children & Family Services announce Neighborhoods for Learning

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    July 26, 2019
    (VENTURA, CA) –– July 10, 2019 –– First 5 Ventura County (F5VC) is pleased to join Interface
    Children & Family Services (ICFS) in announcing 13 Neighborhoods for Learning (NfL) locations
    scheduled to open in late August. Services will be provided across the county with locations in
    Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks,
    and Ventura. The sites will help provide essential learning opportunities and services for Ventura
    County’s nearly 60,000 children prenatal – 5 and their families.

    This announcement marks another milestone achieved as part of F5VC’s newly redesigned NfL
    model. First 5 Ventura County will be investing $2.9 million annually in the First 5 Neighborhoods
    for Learning, powered by Interface, with classes beginning in late August and early September

    “We are committed to continue delivering Parent and Child Together (PACT) Classes and family
    support services throughout the county and in neighborhoods where our most vulnerable families
    and young children reside,” said First 5 Ventura County Executive Director Petra Puls. “Together
    with ICFS, we have thoroughly reviewed and selected 13 easily accessible locations to serve as
    neighborhood hubs for early learning and family support services. Many of the sites are in familiar
    locations, like schools.”

    The centrally located NfL locations will offer programs including Parent and Child Together (PACT)
    classes to help parents and caregivers enhance their knowledge of child development and positive
    parenting practices to support their children’s learning and development. Parent education classes
    provide a venue for parents to connect with peers and benefit from social support. Families will also
    have access to developmental screenings, assistance with care coordination and referral to
    services such as housing, dental, and Cal Fresh programs.

    "We're excited to partner with F5VC in establishing these prime NfL locations,” said Interface
    Executive Director Erik Sternad. “The carefully selected NfL sites will allow us to work
    collaboratively to ensure our Ventura County children and families are served in the best and most
    cost-effective manner possible.”

    The award winning First 5 Neighborhoods for Learning were founded nearly 20 years ago with the
    understanding that parents and caregivers are the foundation of children's well-being and healthy
    development. Years of research confirms that a child’s brain develops faster from birth to age three
    than at any other later period in life, building the foundation for a child's future learning, behavior, and health. 
    “A child’s experiences in the first three years are the bricks and mortar of brain development, which is why
    we’ve updated the NfL model and placed an even greater emphasis onPACT classes” remarked Elizabeth
    Majestic, Pritzker Fellow and First 5 Director of Neighborhoodsfor Learning.

    “To help us best serve the families with young children, F5VC and ICFS will be hosting a series of
    local open house events in early August offering opportunities for parents to enroll in classes and
    engage with the community,” said Puls. “We hope our neighbors will come out and explore all we
    have to offer and meet our NfL staff.”

    The first of these events will be on Tuesday, August 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Justin Early
    Learner Academy in Simi Valley and Sespe Elementary in Fillmore. All those interested in joining
    the F5VC and ICFS family to learn more about classes and programs are encouraged to drop by.

    Additional locations will be announced in the next few weeks. To view a current list of locations and
    open house opportunities, please visit www.First5Ventura.org

    About First 5 Ventura County

    Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years and what
    parents and caregivers do during these years to support their child’s growth will have a significant
    impact throughout life. Based on this research, First 5 Ventura County was created by voters in
    1998 to invest Ventura County’s allocation of funds from California’s voter-approved Proposition 10
    tax 50 cents-per-pack tax on tobacco. F5VC invests these revenues in programs and services for
    children prenatal - 5 that support children’s health, early learning, and strong families, including our
    nationally recognized Neighborhoods for Learning (NfLs).

    First 5 Ventura County knows that improving the life trajectory of our youngest children will not be
    the product of Prop 10 funds alone, which now average $160 per child under the age of 5 in each
    county. Changing systems and policies to prioritize children at the earliest moments in their lives is
    what’s required to help all children have the best start possible in life.

    About Interface Children & Family Services

    Interface is Ventura County’s leading nonprofit social services agency, providing free, proven, and
    responsive services to address the complex physical and emotional needs of 59,000 local clients
    every year. Its 30 programs utilize 10 evidence-based practices to serve children, teens, adults and
    families who are typically low-income and struggling with poverty, domestic violence, human
    trafficking, homelessness, incarceration, child abuse, neglect and abandonment. Interface also
    connects 150,000 clients per year to a vast network of health and human services in 19 counties
    through its 2-1-1 Information and Referral program.

    Interface’s core program areas are Mental Health and Trauma Treatment, Domestic Violence
    Intervention and Child Abuse Prevention, Youth Crisis and Homeless Services, Human Trafficking
    Intervention, Reentry Services, Early Childhood Family Development, and 2-1-1 information and
    referral. The agency has pioneered several programs including launching California’s first 2-1-1 call
    center, initiated Ventura County’s Pay for Success Program, and was one of the first agencies in
    the state to open a domestic violence shelter. Recently, Interface opened the only human trafficking
    shelter for adults, and is the only provider of child abuse treatment in the region. The agency
    operates out of five main locations including Camarillo, Moorpark, Oxnard, Santa Paula and
    Thousand Oaks, and soon, will be providing early education and parent support at an additional
    thirteen First 5 Neighborhoods for Learning Powered by Interface sites. For more information,
    please contact Catherine L. Kort at ckort@icfs.org or (805) 206-8663.