Highlights from the November 14 Commission meeting include the approval of the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan and presentations on First 5 LA’s year-in-review.

The Board of Commissioners meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1:30 p.m., unless otherwise indicated, at the First 5 LA offices. All meetings are open to the public, and agendas are posted on our website at least 72 hours in advance. Please check our Commission Calendar for all updated meeting information and click here for Commission meeting packets, agendas, summaries and meeting notes.

After a year-long refinement process that involved First 5 LA staff, partners and commissioners, the Board gave their unanimous approval of the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan — a decision that was met with cheers and applause.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the refinement. But it’s not just administrative or a bunch of words. It’s really about how you get from A to Z in the most inclusive and effective way,” Commission Chair Sheila Kuehl said in her remarks.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the refinement. But it’s not just administrative or a bunch of words. It’s really about how you get from A to Z in the most inclusive and effective way.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor and First 5 LA Commission Chair Sheila Kuehl

“It is really exciting to see our many partners, from our Board and beyond, saying ‘this is a moment in time for First 5 LA.’ That we are at a point where we can really step up and into the kind of collaborative work that is so critical to changing the systems that we know are going to make a difference in the equity outcomes and the results for families kids that we seek,” Executive Director Kim Belshé said.

“I think that we’re providing really strong modeling for other organizations across the state about how we need to come together to really focus on the zero to five population,” First 5 LA Commissioner Marlene Zepeda added. “I think this is very groundbreaking and I commend you [First 5 LA] for it.”

To read more about the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan, click here.

Preceding the excitement of Strategic Plan endorsement, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda.

Notable items on the agenda included the establishment of a new strategic partnership with Community Partners to fund a pilot program focused on child health and family strengthening policy and advocacy grants.

Modeled after First 5 LA’s Early Care and Education Policy Advocacy Fund (ECE PAF), the strategic partnership with Community Partners (the organization also overseeing the ECE PAF) will take the form of a $600,000 fund over a 24-month period and will be focused on deliverables concerning child health and family strengthening.

To learn more about the partnership, view this memo.

To mark the final Board meeting of 2019, Strategic Partnerships Vice President Kim Pattillo Brownson, Government Affairs Director Peter Barth, Senior Policy Strategist Charna Widby-Martin and Communications Director Gabriel Sanchez gave a year-in-review presentation that covered highlights in the areas of practice change, policy change and will-building –– the three modes identified in the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan as the pathways to systems change.

“We are aspiring to be at the place where practice change, policy change and will-building are all coming together,” Pattillo Brownson said, speaking to how the work of First 5 LA is becoming more integrated across departments.

Barth spoke about the victories in this year’s state budget, calling out the $2.8 billion in Gov. Newsom’s budget that was directed towards First 5 LA priorities.

Reflecting on the six First 5 LA legislative priorities that were signed into law by Gov. Newsom, Barth also called out the recent signing of SB 225 which will allow non-citizens to serve on boards and commissions. This was a policy stance that was developed in conjunction with First 5 LA’s communities department after recognizing that many of First 5 LA’s most passionate parent leaders were unable to partake in decisions at the systems level due to being ineligible for board and commission seats.

To read more about First 5 LA’s Policy Change year-in-review, see Barth’s blog here.

Widby-Martin highlighted the successful passing of AB 1004 –– the first piece of First 5 LA-sponsored legislation to be signed into law –– and spoke of how the foundational work it took to make the bill a success only sets First 5 LA up for future wins.

“We are also engaged and in a good position to work on data quality and quality improvement efforts for children’s preventive health at the state level and more broadly now,” Widby-Martin said.

You can read more about AB 1004’s journey into law here.

Lastly, Sanchez presented on First 5 LA’s broader communications strategies to advance systems change and build will for First 5 LA priorities.

Looking again to the example of AB 1004, Sanchez pointed out how, through a strategic partnership with USC’s Center for Health Reporting, a story about developmental screenings graced the front page of the Sacramento Bee just as legislative efforts around the bill were culminating.

“Because of these things, we created a ‘surround sound’ about why this issue [developmental screenings] is important, and in turn, that helped the advocacy efforts,” Sanchez said.

“We thank you for the support and hopefully at this time next year we have as much good news to report as we did this year,” Barth said in closing the presentation.

The Board of Commissioners will be on break in December. Meetings will resume again in January 2020.