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Location& Staff Mission, Vision, & Goals  | Background | CommissionersBylaws

Location & Staff

First 5 Inyo County
568 W. Line Street

Bishop, CA 93514

Serena Johnson, Executive Director
Phone: (760) 873-6453
Email: sjohnson@inyocounty.us

Melissa Ruiz, Prevention Specialist

Phone: (760) 873-2301

Email: mruiz@inyocounty.us

Barbara Keller, Prevention Specialist

Phone: (760) 873-4159

Email: bkeller@inyocounty.us



Mission, Vision, & Goals


Recognizing that current research in brain development of young children indicates that the emotional, physical and intellectual environment in which a child grows up is critical to that child’s development, First 5 Inyo County is committed to enhancing communities to support and ensure child health, child development, school readiness, and family functioning.


All children in Inyo County will thrive in supportive, nurturing, and safe environments, enter school healthy and ready to learn, and become integrated, contributing members of society.


  1. Ensure children 0-5 receive timely and adequate health services to prevent, detect, and treat health issues.
  2. Improve the development of children 0-5 and promote successful transition to school.
  3. Support optimal parenting and family self-sufficiency.
  4. Improve systems of care and leverage existing resources throughout Inyo County.



In November 1998, California voters passed Proposition 10, the "Children and Families Act of 1998" initiative, which then became effective on January 1, 1999. The act levies a tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products in order to provide funding for early childhood development programs. The ultimate goal is to enhance the early growth experiences of children, enabling them to be more successful in school and ultimately to give them an equal opportunity to succeed in life. Revenues generated from the tobacco tax are used to:

• Create a comprehensive and integrated delivery system of information and services to promote early childhood development;
• Provide funds to supplement existing community services or to establish new services that focus on parenting education, child health and wellness, early child care and education, and family support; and
• Educate Californians via a statewide multimedia campaign on the importance of early childhood development and smoking cessation.

Tobacco tax revenues are accumulated in a designated trust fund to meet the needs of children ages prenatal to 5 throughout the state. In 2002, almost $600 million will be placed in this trust fund. 80% of these funds are then allocated to the 58 counties of the state according to the live birth rate of each county. The remaining 20% of the money is directed to statewide programs, research, and media campaigns.

Proposition 10 is premised on new information about brain development. Young children learn and grow because of the key role their parents or caregivers play in their development. Although a wide range of individuals and institutions impact the health and well being of young children, the role of parents is paramount. Parenting is much more important between the ages of birth to five than we once believed. By providing children with safe, nurturing, and stimulating environments, parents and caregivers influence long-term growth and development during these important early years.

The Inyo County Children and Families Commission was created in 1999 by the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, according to provisions of the Children and Families Act of 1998, to carry out the work of Proposition 10 in the county.



First 5 Inyo County is currently seeking applications from interested parties to fill a vacancy on our Commission. This is an unpaid appointment by the Board of Supervisors, and commissioner duties include meeting attendance and participation, voting to approve and deny proposed projects and expenditures, reviewing strategic, special, and targeted grant proposals, and general service as a community advocate for early child education and development.

Commissioners can represent any of the following categories: recipients of project services included in the county strategic plan; educators specializing in early childhood development; representatives of a local childcare resource or referral agency, or a local child care coordination group; representative of a local organization for prevention or early intervention for families at risk; representatives of community-based organizations that have a goal of promoting, nurturing and early childhood development; representatives of local school districts; and representatives of local medical, pediatric, or obstetric associations of societies.

If you are interested in applying, contact Serena at 760-873-6453 for more information.



Mark Tillemans, Chair - County Supervisor

Robyn Wisdom, Vice Chair - Early Child Educator

Anna Scott - HHS Director designee

Melissa Best-Baker - HHS Designee

Lisa Fontana - Early Child Educator

Eileen Dougherty - Parent Representative

vacant - Early Child Health Representative




View Bylaws and Operating Guidelines for the First 5 Inyo County Commission and Staff.

First 5 Inyo County Bylaws

First 5 Inyo County Operating Guidelines






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