News and happenings about First Things First

January 2023

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Letter from FTF CEO Melinda Morrison Gulick

As 2023 begins, Melinda shares her hopes for continuing to advance
First Things First’s mission to help all of Arizona’s young children learn and grow, as well as supporting child care providers who continue to recover from the long-lasting impact of the pandemic.
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2022 Impact Reports, Tribal mom smiling with two daughters

2022 Impact Reports give insight into early childhood successes in Arizona communities

Every year, FTF publishes 28 regional impact reports featuring children and families who have benefited from FTF-funded programs and services. Each report details the efforts of FTF’s regional partnership councils and the impact they’re making in communities across Arizona. The easy-to-read, 4-page reports showcase the work accomplished in each region to support early learning, strong families and children’s healthy development.
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FTF partner and Tucson hospital create reading corner for babies in the NICU

The staff in the Tucson Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) wanted to reinvigorate the reading corner to help parents get excited and comfortable reading to their babies. The staff contacted the
First Things First Pima North Region and with a shared vision to inspire families to read with their babies, a collaboration between FTF, the hospital and Make Way for Books was formed.
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News Round-Up

News about early childhood around Arizona and across the U.S.

Agency to seek grant proposals for assisting preschoolers
The Eastern Arizona Courier, Dec. 19
Arizona’s early childhood agency announced it will soon solicit proposals for about 80 grants to eligible organizations that serve the state’s babies, toddlers and preschoolers. First Things First funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. The agency said in a release that it is hoping to increase the awareness of funding opportunities that will be released in early 2023 to support early childhood strategies. The grants, which will be available across the state, are expected to range from $30,000 to $2 million.
For new parents in high-risk communities, home visiting programs can make a huge difference
Fox News, Jan. 9
Steve Hilton of the Fox News show "The Next Revolution" noted on a recent episode that one of the most pivotal times to support and assist families in America is "when children are born." Family-focused programs can be most impactful and even "life-saving" when they're available to high-risk communities, he said. Hilton welcomed Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., as well as Jenny Harper, director of federal government affairs at the Nurse-Family Partnership to discuss the benefits of at-home nursing programs for new parents.
Meet three California startups taking on America’s child care crisis
The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 19
Before the pandemic, many venture capitalists weren’t convinced that child care was a worthwhile investment. Is this really a problem? they’d ask founders in the industry. Aren’t people figuring it out?
Then the pandemic hit and last year, child care startups raked in almost $108 million in venture capital funding, a 128% increase compared with 2019 and the highest total in 10 years, according to PitchBook data. The increase for child care came in stark contrast to last year’s overall decline in venture funding.   
This February, FTF will be sharing information about home visitation and its many benefits for parents and families. Join us in spreading the word by participating using the social media kit below. 
Download Social Media Kit
First Things First is Arizona's early childhood agency that funds early education and health programs to prepare young children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
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