Early Childhood Development Initiative

The Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI) is an opportunity for the community as a whole to work together to ensure that young children, from the prenatal stage through age 5, have what they need to succeed. When young children grow up in an environment of positive early experiences - physically, socially, intellectually, and emotionally – they have a greater chance to reach their full potential and be successful adults. This is why the Children’s Council launched the ECDI, which aims to develop a countywide strategic vision, road map, and action plan to help our youngest children, prenatal stage through age 5, reach their full potential in safe and nurturing families. 

Research confirms that investment in early childhood development, especially for children who are from socio-economically disadvantaged families, pays extremely high returns. It improves not only their cognitive abilities but also crucial behavioral traits like sociability, motivation, and self-esteem. Studies that have followed children through their adult lives confirm enormous payoffs for these investments, whether measured in success in college, higher income, or lower incarceration rates. 

"Policymakers should invest in early childhood where rate of return on the dollar is the greatest." - James Heckman

                         rates of return to human capital investment at different ages

For more information about the importance of investing early childhood, please see the following resources:

Event Video PowerPoint presentation with Prof. Heckman's private notes Brochure
Two page handout Heckman Equation website Board of Supervisors Legislative Priority 2013-2014

UPDATE: In June, ECDI released the Engagement Opportunity Request (EOR) document.  Communities are encouraged to form cross-sector Collaborative Action Teams to determine how they would like to receive technical support and capacity building resources to improve early childhood development from ECDI. 

ECDI has been holding a series of working sessions throughout the county to help explain the EOR and support communities form their Teams.  Below are summaries of the meetings, dates for follow-up meetings along with contact information for more information.

North County Working Session: June 18, 2014

You can find detailed notes of the meeting here: North County ECDI Working Session Notes.


The Central Coast Collaborative(CCC) would like to be the collaborative action team that submits an Engagement Opportunity Request (EOR) to ECDI. 

Noemy Loveless from North Monterey County Unified School District will be the representative from the CCC to submit an EOR. 

You can contact Noemy Loveless at nloveless@nmcusd.org or 831-633-5975.

There will be a meeting of the CCC, most likely early August, to discuss how to submit the EOR.  ECDI will coordinate with Noemy and send an update on the location, date and time of the meeting.


Rosemary Hernandez from Pajaro Valley Unified School District completed an action plan identifying key champions in Pajaro for ECDI.  You can find the action plan here: Pajaro ECDI Action Plan.

You can contact Rosemary Hernandez at rosemary_hernandez@pvusd.net or 831-761-6633.

Salinas Working Session: June 20, 2014


You can find detailed notes from the meeting here: Salinas Working Session Notes.

The group came to consensus on the following statement regarding how to complete the ECDI EOR:

  • Champions for all Salinas = making sure challenges/needs in specific areas (zip codes) of need are addressed.

Several participants came forward to plan outreach and the follow-up meeting:

  • What: Salinas Collaborative Action Team Meeting
  • When: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 6:00-7:30p
  • Where: Sun Street Center, 128 E. Alisal Street, Salinas
  • Click here  to register for the Salinas meeting
  • Click here for a flyer for up coming meetings

If you have any questions, please contact Nina Alcaraz, nina@first5monterey.org  831-444-8549 ext. 11.

Gonzales Working Session: June 25, 2014

You can find more detailed meeting noteshere: Gonzales Location Meeting notes  and  Gonzales Meeting Notes 2 

Below are highlights from the meeting:


The group decided that the current Gonzales City Collaborative can expand current participation to include cross-sector representation.  

If you would like more information on how to participate you can contact, Liz Modena (831) 675-0100 ext. 110  lmodena@gonzales.k12.ca.us or Rene Mendez (831) 675-5000 rmendez@ci.gonzales.ca.us.


For more detailed Soledad meeting notes click here: Soledad Group notes.

There will be a follow-up discussion:

  • What: Soledad Collaborative Action Team Meeting
  • When: Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:00-8:30p
  • Where: Soledad High School, Mission Room, 425 Gabilan Drive, Soledad

If you would like more information on how to join the Soledad Collaborative Action Team, please contact Denise Estrella (831) 678-1581  destrella@soledad.k12.ca.us

King City Working Session: June 26, 2014


For more detailed meeting notes, click here:Greenfield Group notes.

The group will meet together to fine tune the EOR

  • What: Greenfield Collaborative Action Team Meeting
  • When: Monday, August 25, 2014, 8:15-10:30a
  • Where: Greenfield Community Center  1351 Oak Avenue, Greenfield
  • Click here to register for the Greenfield meeting
  • Click here for a flyer for up coming meetings

If you would like more information on how to participate you can contact  Nina Alcaraz (831) 444-8549 ext. 11; nina@first5monterey.org


The group decided to hold a series of meetings within each city and town to discuss how to complete the EOR.  For more detailed meeting notes, click here:King City and South Monterey County Group notes.

There will be a larger meeting with representatives from each of the smaller meetings to complete the document for submission in late August.

If you would like more information on how to participate you can contact, Jessica Riley Jessica.devoe@gmail.com or Jennifer B. Taylor jbtaylor@kcusd.org

Peninsula Working Session: July 9, 2014


Group participants discussed how to form a Collaborative Action Team (CAT) and decided that the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District provides a unifying framework, but the Peninsula CAT will be particular focus to the needs of Seaside and Marina. For more detailed meeting notes click here: Peninsula Collaborative Action Team notes.

The group agreed to convene again to discuss who is missing and how to complete the EOR. 

  • What: Peninsula Collaboartive Action Team  Meeting
  • When: Monday, August 11, 2014, 6:00-8:00pm
  • Where:  MPC Child Development Center, 980 Fremont Street, Monterey
  • Click here  to register for the Peninsula meeting
  • Click here  for a flyer for up coming meetings

If you would like more information on how to participate in the Peninsula CAT, please contact Nina Alcaraz at nina@first5monterey.org  (831) 444-8549 ext. 11

  • Policy Advocacy Network

For detailed Policy Advocacy Network notes click here: Policy Advocacy Network notes.

The group discussed several different themes including:

  • The importance of communication and outreach, specifically through traditional media (TV) and social media (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Importance of understanding gaps
  • Participants role in ECDI

If you would like more information on how to participate in the Policy Advocacy Network, you can contact Sandra Chapin at Sandra@first5monterey.org  (831) 444-8549 ext. 18

Image for collective impact

Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. In order to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, organizations — including those in government, civil society, and the business sector — need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.

This initiative uses an approach called Collective Impact. In Monterey County, we have a general commitment to working together in partnership, and sometimes large-scale collaborative groups, on social issues.  So what’s different?

In Collective Impact, multiple players from multiple sector work together to solve complex social issues. The partners:

  • Share the same goal.
  • Measure the same things.
  • Align cross-sector with government, nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate sectors as partners with community members.
  • Actively coordinate their actions.
  • Intentionally share lessons learned.

Collective Impact takes our existing partnerships and makes them intentional, broad, and coordinated towards a common impact – all young children thriving.  

Five Elements of Collective Impact

The five elements of a collective impact framework are developing a shared vision, engaging in mutually reinforcing activities, utilizing shared measurements and data collection systems, continuous communication to share lessons learned and adapt to changes in the environment and using backbone support to provide overarching administrative and technical support to the collaborative work.  

Backbone support is a group or organization that acts as a neutral convener, facilitator and data analyst to guide and support the work of the initiative.  Backbone support is the most crucial element in collective impact collaborations.  The backbone serves as the administrative body that helps guide and shape collective impact work while continuously engaging key community partners.  The backbone for the ECDI is cross sector group of individuals from the Monterey County Department of Social Services, Monterey County Office of Education Head Start, The Monterey County Health Department, First 5 and United Way.   The Monterey County Children’s Council serves as the steering committee for the initiative and individuals from pre-existing networks that focus on healthy child development to serve as “thought partners” or in “work groups”. The graphic below illustrates the phases of the process and the governance structure.


Three Key Phases Graph

The success of ECDI depends on engagement with the community.  The Early Childhood Development Initiative has released the Engagement Opportunity Request for communities interested in receiving capacity building services from ECDI to support Monterey County’s children. 

Click here to download a copy.

If you have specific questions, comments or suggestions, please contact the chair of the initiative, Nina Alcaraz ECDI Manager, nina@first5monterey.org or (831) 444-8549 ext. 11

community foundation