First 5 LA has recently undertaken the rollout phase of the Best Start Families Framework, or BSFF, at each of the 14 Best Start Communities, marking a significant step in the initial implementation of the BSFF.
Approved by the First 5 LA Commission in November, the $4.9 million, six-month BSFF implementation plan represents a place-based investment in a community change agenda which asserts that if children are to be healthy, safe and ready for school, then families must be strong and communities must support families to succeed.
To do so, First 5 LA is aligning with parents and communities to jointly build the skills necessary to create ways to transform policies and conditions that affect child development and well-being.
The BSFF implementation plan emphasizes six family and community-level core results:
1. Family capacities – knowledgeable, resilient and nurturing parents
2. Social connections – families participating in positive social networks
3. Concrete supports – access to services and supports that meet families’ needs
4. Coordinated services and supports that meet families’ needs
5. A common vision and collective will to strengthen families
6. Social networks and safe spaces for recreation and interaction
From February to March, new Best Start Communities Director Rafael González and Assistant Director Antoinette Andrews joined staff to introduce the BSSF Framework to the 14 Best Start Communities. These communities include: Central Long Beach, Compton and East Compton, East Los Angeles, El Monte and South El Monte, Lancaster, Metro LA, Pacoima, Palmdale, Panorama City, South Los Angeles/Broadway-Manchester, South Los Angeles/West Athens, Southeast L.A. County Cities including Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy and Maywood, Watts-Willowbrook and Wilmington.
Several hundred community partners – mostly parents and residents – attended these BSFF roll out meetings. During these gatherings, staff also introduced the protective factors and “Learning By Doing” – a process that includes developmental evaluation, resident engagement and learning teams that promote learning, skills development and the capacity to be results-focused.
“The response from parents and other community stakeholders has been positive and it is very clear they are ready to begin BSFF implementation,” González said.
In April, the Best Start Community partnerships will continue the process of selecting a family-level core result. The partnerships are working with a Developmental Evaluator from Harder + Company and Special Service for Groups to review data and information that helps them select the core result.
“This is the part of the BSFF process that parents and community stakeholders are anticipating and looking forward to in this stage of the BSFF community change effort,” González said.
Other partnership outreach efforts are underway within Best Start Communities. In February, staff from the Welcome Baby Hospitals and home visitation programs began to conduct presentations at Community Partnership meetings to provide information about their services, build relationships, and form linkages between the BSFF family strengthening and community capacity building strategies within each Best Start Community.
“First 5 LA is poised and excited to move forward in transforming communities and changing the lives of families and their children,” González said.