November 9, 2023

Dear Partners,

Every child has the potential to thrive. The pandemic exacerbated disparities and laid bare what we have long known: that healthy food, secure housing, and families’ experiences of safety and belonging are critical to children’s well-being. It also showed we must go further.

During the first five years, a child creates trillions of neural connections that become the foundation of their brain architecture. The healthy development of this architecture is dependent on a child’s relationships and experiences. During these critical years, children need the support of safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments. Young children’s interactions in social environments, with their families, caregivers and communities, and their physical environments — where they live, play and explore — have long-term implications for their health and well-being. That’s why we must work together to ensure children have a solid foundation from early learning experiences to reach their full developmental potential.

Our strategic plan focuses on goals to collectively build toward ensuring children’s needs across a continuum of basic (physiological and safety), psychological (esteem, love and belonging) and self-fulfillment (self-actualization) needs are met. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we commit to centering racial justice and equity in our work and partnering with renewed urgency to create a future where young children and their families are prioritized in Los Angeles County and across the state. We seek to go beyond mitigating the effects of growing inequities to address root causes by engaging in community engagement, prevention and systemic change.

Let’s work together to create change so our region shines as an example of what it looks like to prioritize our youngest children and their families as our pathway to a strong and inclusive future. At First 5 LA, we look forward to partnering with you so we can create a brighter, more equitable future for our youngest children and their families.


Karla Pleitéz Howell
First 5 LA
Executive Director

To read the 2024-29 Strategic Plan, click here.