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Policy and Advocacy

At First 5 LA, we recognize that policy and advocacy are essential tools in our efforts to champion the well-being of children in the areas of health, safety, and early education.

We identify and support policies that increase children’s developmental potential, improve the public’s access to quality health resources, and help parents and caregivers raise children in safe environments.

Policy Agenda

First 5 LA's Public Policy Agenda for 2010-2015 addresses the Commission's long term outcomes through ten policy goals.

First 5 LA 2010-2015 Policy Agenda (pdf)

First 5 LA 2010-2015 Policy Agenda Summary (pdf)

As advocates for young children and families, First 5 LA monitors pending legislation and engages in activities that improve the lives of children and families in the areas of health, education and child safety.

Our department partners with community coalitions and other child advocacy groups to educate the general public and government officials about how policy and legislation affects the lives of the children and families we serve.

Legislative Agenda

Every year, the First 5 LA Commission votes to support state bills and federal items that have the potential to greatly improve the lives of young children and their families in California. Legislation included in First 5 LA's Legislative Agenda reflect the agency's policy goals, encompassing a number of issues such as nutrition, health care, child abuse and neglect, and early care and education.

For more information, please contact Tessa Charnofsky, Government Affairs Manager, at [email protected].

Policy in Play Alerts

First 5 LA provides perodic updates on current legislative issues through the Policy in Play alerts. More information can be found here.

Policy Panels

First 5 LA hosts a number of discussions each year with the goal of identifying policy-based solutions to pressing issues affecting young children and their families. More information can be found on the Panels Page.

Policy Briefs

First 5 LA policy briefs provide specific policy or system change recommendations for correcting social problems of concern to First 5 LA. These documents are useful tools for policymakers, opinion leaders and early childhood advocates who wish to learn more about issues affecting young children and their families.

First 5 LA policy briefs include:

  • Sugary Drinks: A Big Problem For Kids (2011). Strong public policies are needed to support parents and caregivers in stemming the childhood obesity epidemic. Increasingly, the evidence points to sugary drinks - including soda, juice, sports drinks, energy drinks and the like - as a prime source of added calories in our diets. This policy brief reviews the scientific evidence, the evolution of sugared beverage consumption, compares specific popular drinks, catalogues the health risks for children and proposes a variety of policy solutions.
  • ARRA Investments Supporting Children 0-5 in L.A. County (2010). This policy brief focuses on the amount of ARRA dollars flowing into Los Angeles County and the impact of these one-time investments on the lives of children and families, with a focus on four ARRA grants that have a direct impact on the well-being of children, birth through 5.

Policy Roundtables

Held twice a year, First 5 LA's policy roundtables were developed to encourage strategic thinking and collaborative efforts among advocates working on public policy issues affecting children age 0 to 5 and their families. Roundtable participants share information on their public policy change efforts at the national, state and/or local levels, learn about others' activities, and build mutual support for policies benefitting infants, young children and their families in L.A. County.

  • Policy Roundtable: June 5, 2012. Marci Aronovitz of Strategic Counsel discusses First 5 LA's new policy brief on the economic impact of the early care and education industry on Los Angeles County. Handouts provided include:

- ECE Works PowerPoint Presentation

- Excerpts from Federal Update Report, June 2012

Displaying 1-20 of 136 results.

Budget Update: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
By Kim Belshé, Executive Director of First 5 LAEarlier this week Legislative leaders passed the State Budget for the Fiscal Year that begins on...

Parents and Communities Create New Local Leadership for First 5 LA Place-based Effort
New, Regional Structure of Best Start Communities Intended to Help Amplify Voices for Young KidsLOS ANGELES – Acting on broad...

First 5 LA Invests In Key Early Care and Education Policy and Advocacy Partnerships
Download this press release »Five-Year, $15 Million Investment Will Strengthen Existing Policy and Advocacy Efforts to Expand and Improve Early...

First 5 LA Addresses Impact of Immigration Fears on Young Children
Download this press release »First 5 LA Pledges to Work with Organizations to Help Parents Understand their Rights to Receive Services for Their...

What We’re Doing – Accessing D.C. Lawmakers, Fatherhood Solutions & More
Gaining ACCESS in the Nation’s Capital First 5 LA’s policy and strategy team members joined with statewide First 5 leaders for the Los...

Legislature Makes Important Strides for Young Children and Sends State Budget to Governor for Signature
Download this press release as a PDF»Budget Updates Child Care Eligibility and Funding, Building Foundation for Necessary Investments Ahead LOS...

First 5 LA’s 2017 State Legislative Agenda Advocates for Access to Critical Services for Young Children and Families
Agenda Calls for Long-lasting Policy Changes to Improve Health Services, Child Care Eligibility and Access to Early Care and Education for Foster...

Parents Sound Off on Governor’s Budget
When Michelle Catalan moved from Los Angeles to Orange County, she discovered that the nearby preschool had an impossibly long waiting list for her...

The Impact of Gov. Brown’s Proposed Budget on Young Children and Families
The following is a brief overview of key elements of Gov. Brown’s proposed 2017-18 budget affecting young children and their families within...

Brown Administration Misses Opportunity to Make Needed Investments in Early Care and Education
Governor Delays Promised Investments in Young Children, Stalling Future Economic Growth LOS ANGELES – Despite continued growth in revenues...

Staying Focused in Times of Change
As watchful eyes focus on how the White House and Congress transition to a new administration, what remains unclear is how these changes will steer...

State Legislative Update: Will Gov. Brown Sign These Bills?
As Chaucer said, “Time and tide wait for no man.”Even if you’re the governor of California. Gov. Jerry Brown has until September 30...

Capitol Gains: First 5 LA Advocates for Kids
"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." — John F. Kennedy, 35th President...

First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé Congratulates Assemblymember Anthony Rendon on His Inauguration as Speaker
Head of Leading Early Childhood Advocacy Organization Looks Forward to Working with Speaker Rendon on Policies to Help Give L.A. County’s Kids...

An Increase in the State’s Prosperity Must Align with Children’s Needs
Budget priorities should address opportunity and achievement gaps for California’s youngest childrenSACRAMENTO — With more than 17 years...

Advocates Representing California’s Nine Million Children Hail Congressional Passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization
First 5’s Say Quality Early Learning and Care Are Key to Closing Opportunity Gaps NationwideSACRAMENTO, Calif. — December 9, 2015 &mdash...

Expanded Early Education and Health Coverage Opportunities for the New School Year
New developments in early childhood education during this back-to-school season in Los Angeles County include the creation of Los Angeles Unified...

Playing the ACE Card
By Pegah Faed, First 5 LA Research AnalystInformation for this article came from articles on and interviews by Jane Stevens, Founder...

Lawmakers for Children: Q & A with State Senator Ricardo Lara
Born and raised a local Angeleno and the son of a seamstress and factory worker, California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has been at...

Policy Pick: State Lawmakers to Consider First 5 LA-Supported Bills
When California legislators return to the State Capitol in August from a summer recess spent in their respective districts, one of their primary goals...
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