We believe, and research confirms, that children are strongest when they live in safe and thriving families and neighborhoods. Therefore through our new plan, First 5 LA will focus on strengthening families, while also building the capacity of communities to create and sustain nurturing environments for children. This new "place-based approach" will allow the commission to have a deeper impact in select areas of the county and to better measure the impact our investments are having.
At the same time, First 5 LA will continue to use our unique position in L.A. County to advocate and educate on behalf of young children and to improve the many systems that touch the lives of children and families. We will determine the best and most effective investment strategies that have the potential to affect all children in the county, including policy, public education, integration of service systems, and health access. These strategies are key to maintaining and sustaining our impact in the target communities.
Within these communities and countywide, the Commission has selected the following four goals that will drive our work in the new plan:
- Children are born healthy
- Children maintain a healthy weight
- Children are safe from abuse and neglect
- Children are ready for kindergarten
All of our investments will be focused on changing outcomes in one of these areas.
In addition, the Commission has identified a pathway that leads us to our desired outcomes for children, families, and communities. This pathway will guide our funding decisions in the new strategic plan. The Commission will continue to fund some direct services in the targeted communities but will strengthen our commitment to investing in community capacity building and family strengthening.
There has never been a time when the issues facing children have so captured the attention of the public and of policymakers at the highest levels of government. Yet, external pressures and limited resources threaten to curtail many of the gains made to improve the health and well-being of young children before they are fully realized. Within this environment, the role of First 5 LA as partner, funder and leader of early childhood development is more crucial than ever. The Commissioners and staff at First 5 LA have crafted this plan to facilitate opportunities for partnership while strategically using our own resources to maximize benefits to children and families in L.A. County. We invite all those dedicated to our vision to join us in making it a reality.
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