Keeping children safe from abuse and neglect has been a priority for First 5 LA during its 15-year history. Across a person's lifespan, child abuse and neglect is linked to an increased risk of substance abuse, obesity, depression, suicide and - in some instances - deviant or criminal behavior.
First 5 LA believes that parenting support and child safety are two important investment areas to prevent childhood abuse and neglect. In 2012-2013 alone, First 5 LA invested $35.8 million in those two areas. Highlights of parenting support and child safety investments by First 5 LA during the past 15 years include:
- Stabilizing families at high risk of child abuse through prevention and early intervention as part of Partnerships for Families, which addresses gaps in the current child welfare system.
- Supporting a countywide public education campaign to get the word out about California's law providing protection from prosecution for parents who safely surrender their baby to hospitals or fire stations.
- Participating in a public education campaign with the Los Angeles County Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect to help save families from the preventable loss of their infants due to unsafe sleeping practices.
- Reducing the risk of abuse in families with young children with serious disruptive behavior disorders by funding Parent-Child Interactive Therapy, an evidence-based behavioral family intervention model.
- Providing dozens of peer support groups for parents to foster social connections, reduce isolation and provide for a positive mental outlook for parents over the long term.
- Increasing the access to substance abuse services for high-risk parents and caregivers, a countywide project that integrates child protective services with substance abuse treatment and mental health supports for parents in crisis.
- Improving the health, developmental and safety outcomes for newborns in low-income communities receiving WIC services in L.A. County through One Step Ahead, which provides families with literacy and safety resources that they may not otherwise afford.