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February/March 2002Vol. 3, No. 2Kit for New Parents Available to All Parents of California Newborns

A new comprehensive parenting resource is now available to all parents of newborns in the State of California. Available in English and Spanish, the Kit for New Parents contains valuable resources for parents of the approximately 500,000 children born every year in California.

Launched November 1, 2001 by the California Children and Families Commission (CCFC), the initiative targets parents of all incomes and ethnic groups. CCFC was created by Proposition 10, a 50-cent tax per pack of tobacco that generates about $700 million annually for California programs for young children and their families.

The Kit for New Parents includes:

  • Videos on topics such as health and nutrition, child safety, child care, early literacy, and other early childhood development information
  • Parents Guide, parent-focused guides developed by the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, many experts, and parents
  • Brochures on parenting issues such as reading, tobacco, immunizations, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, safety issues, and more
  • Animals to Count, a book for children.

Director and actor Rob Reiner, chair of CCFC, wrote Proposition 10; he, other celebrities, and child development experts narrate the videos. The narrators include Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Antonia Novello, Le Var Burton, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gloria Estefan, Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Phylicia Rashad, and Maria Shriver.

To develop the kits, the Center for Community Wellness at the University of California at Berkeley conducted an extensive pilot study. Researchers found that:

  • About half of the mothers who received the kits reported changing their behavior or the way they thought about parenting
  • Many parents involved in the pilot study stated they wanted to share the information with others who could benefit from the information
  • Social service providers voiced the need to distribute kits to the approximately 100,000 fathers in California who have full or partial custody of young children.

Research also helped shape a broad advertising campaign reminding parents that their choices shape their children's chances. The campaign included:

  • Television advertisements and billboards in Cantonese, English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese
  • Radio advertisements in Hmong and Lao
  • Newspaper advertisements in Cambodian, Tagalog, and Thai.

Many young children in California spend at least 15 hours a week in the care of someone else besides their parents, most frequently with grandparents. There will be advertisements directly targeting grandparents, as other research has shown they are less knowledgeable than parents about current information on child brain development compared to parents.

For more information about the kits, contact:

California Children & Families Commission
501 J Street, Suite 530
Sacramento, CA 95814
Kits for New Parents information lines: 800-KIDS-025 (English) or 800-5-0-NIÑOS (Spanish)

Related Items

See these related stories in past issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Survey Shows Parents Confused About Child Development" (January/February 2001)
  • "Utah Prevents Shaken Babies Through Unique Public-Private Partnership" (July/August 2001)