First 5 dollars come from a statewide, 50-cents-a-pack tobacco tax approved by California voters in 1998 through Proposition 10.

The money is meant to help children through age 5 enter the school system in good health and ready to learn.

The county-level commissions decide how to distribute money locally to groups that provide services to children.

First 5 Kern, also called the Kern County Children and Families Commission, typically receives about $10 million to $12 million a year from the cigarette tax.

Since its inception in 1999, Kern’s unit has paid out roughly $60 million to children’s programs. On top of that, tens of millions more have been promised, the agency says.