Local experts and policymakers will come together to discuss the most critical issues facing young children in San Bernardino County during a community town hall on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 at California State University San Bernardino’s (CSUSB) Santos Manuel Center, 5500 University Parkway at 7:30 a.m.

The collaborative event is hosted by First 5 San Bernardino in partnership with Child Care Resource Center, the County of San Bernardino, Institute for Child Development & Family Relations (CSUSB), San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, and First 5 California. The State of Young Children: A Community Town Hall provides an opportunity for the community to come together to address early childhood development and early education. The event will create a dialogue between community members, experts, and the county’s representatives on key children’s issues.

“Research shows that babies form over 80 percent of the brain connections that determine how they talk, think, and grow by the time they are three years old,” said Karen E. Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino. “Children’s earliest experiences have long-lasting effects on their potential to succeed in life. That’s why it’s so important that we engage in a dialogue now, as a community, about how we are investing in our children’s development and education.”

Featured speakers reflect a few of the county’s leading experts on policy, pediatrics, intergovernmental relations, early childhood development, and early childhood education:

• San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors - Chairman James C. Ramos, Third District

• Dena Smith, chief operating officer of the County of San Bernardino

• Ted Alejandre, superintendent, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

• Dr. Ron Powell, educational consultant, Early Childhood Mental Health Advocate

• Dr. Edward Curry, pediatrician and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics

• Timothy E. Hougen, Ph.D., program manager II, County of San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health

• Barbara Alejandre, chief intergovernmental relations officer of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

• Dr. Elliott Weinstein, pediatrician and commissioner of First 5 San Bernardino

The town hall will also feature a panel discussion on access to child care and early learning moderated by Margaret Grant-Gould, policy director of First 5 Association, about policy proposals and other innovative solutions to help San Bernardino County’s youngest children succeed and thrive. Panelists include:

• Diana Alexander, director, County of San Bernardino Preschool Services

• James Moses, regional director, Child Care Resource Center

• Trudy Raymundo, director, County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health

· Randy Elphic, assistant superintendent, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Student Services

• Chrystina Smith-Rasshan, operations manager, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Student ServicesThe event is free and open to the public. You can learn more about the town hall and RSVP at first5townhall.eventbrite.com

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