The early months and years of life represent a unique window of vulnerability and opportunity for the entire family. For infants and their parents, positive experiences during this time can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of well-being, while negative experiences may have the opposite effect.
In Los Angeles County, a broad set of stakeholders has stepped up in recent years to build a coordinated system of home visiting services to support families during this critical period, prevent a range of harmful and costly outcomes, and promote greater health and well-being community-wide. Fueled by an ambitious Board motion passed in December 2016 and the resulting countywide plan (Strengthening Home Visiting in Los Angeles County: A Plan to Improve Child, Family, and Community Well-Being, Family, and Community Well-Being) released in July 2018), these recent advances are part of a systems change effort that has been decades in the making.
In the last two years, a compelling alliance among publicly funded agencies — including the Department of Mental Health (DMH), Department of Public Health (DPH), and First 5 LA, three of the earliest funders of home visiting in the County — has been working with a growing network of public and private partners to maximize the impact of a one-time investment of DMH Prevention and Early Intervention funds to expand home visiting services.
This investment is catalyzing significant changes in the ways that early childhood prevention services are funded, coordinated and delivered. L.A. County leaders are looking to leverage this unique point in time to explore what will be required to develop and maintain a universal system of targeted home visiting services. This report, Aligning the Stars: Chronicle of a Home Visiting System Expansion describes how these recently elevated partnerships evolved and highlights the successes as well as the challenges of the first year of implementation, including some key lessons learned from stakeholders.
To download a PDF of the report, click here.