ALAMEDA -- The Marina Village neighborhood has a new addition.
Previously located in San Leandro, First5 Alameda County settled last week into its new offices at 1115 Atlantic Ave. First5 is the county's public child advocacy agency created through the state's 50-cent tax assessed per pack of cigarettes. The tax was implemented in 1998.
The agency directs its focus to helping parents of children from birth to 5 years old. According to the agency, 90 percent of a child's brain develops during the first five years of life.
First5 funds goes toward directing parents to resources for the health, education and development of the well-being of children.
Parents are provided with resources and information on the First5 web site. Free training opportunities for health, education, social workers, marriage and family therapists and other professionals are also listed on the site at www.First5Alameda.org.
The Alameda office is not a physical center for family services or professional training, but is an administrative center for funding support for organizations aimed at helping children, including those with special needs.
The agency moved to Alameda to avoid a significant rent increase in San Leandro, said First 5 representative Jeff Gillenkirk. Rather than renting, First5 purchased the Alameda facility.
Gillenkirk said checking the web site for First5 is the best way for parents and professionals to become informed about its services and to see training schedules for professionals. For those who need to telephone, the number is 510-227-6900. The office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.