These Commission Summaries are intended to provide highlights of the First 5 LA Board of Commissioners’ actions to advance the outcome areas of First 5 LA’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

At the April 14 Commission meeting, highlights include approval of First 5 LA’s State Legislative Agenda, approval of an impact evaluation of Welcome Baby, a presentation on measuring outcomes at First 5 LA using the evolving MEL Framework, and a report assessing children’s readiness for kindergarten in Los Angeles County.

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.

Providing a focus for the agency to engage in advocacy activities related to First 5 LA’s policy priorities to benefit children prenatal to age 5, the Board unanimously approved the 2016 State Legislative Agenda that advocates for an extension of subsidized child care (AB 2150 by Assembly Members Miguel Santiago and Shirley Weber), a statewide kindergarten readiness assessment tool (SCR 125 by Senator Ben Allen) and mental health intervention and prevention services for preschoolers (AB 1644 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta). The agenda also includes a state preschool age of eligibility definition (SB 1042 by Senator Loni Hancock) and a licensing renewal fee for retailers selling cigarette and tobacco products (AB 2770 by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian). Full details on these bills and those on the First 5 LA Watch List can be found here.

The Board also unanimously approved a 3-1/2 year impact evaluation of Welcome Baby, a free, voluntary program that provides pregnant women and new moms in Los Angeles County with information, support and a personal parent coach to assist them through pregnancy and early parenthood. The evaluation, which will be conducted by American Institutes for Research, will assess the impact of the program on maternal and child outcomes, outcomes for women who participated prenatally and more. Total cost for the evaluation is $3.5 million.

With a focus on measuring change at the systems, community and family level through implementation of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, staff provided the Board with a presentation on First 5 LA’s evolving approach to evaluation and measuring outcomes through its new Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) framework. Noting the agency’s shift from a compliance-driven approach to an evaluation and learning focus, the presentation highlighted three different case studies from across the nation. More on these cases and the full presentation can be read here.

While First 5 LA’s overarching goal is to ensure that all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life, there is no current way of knowing whether children are ready to succeed by the time they enter kindergarten. Ted Lempert and Kendra Rogers of Children Now presented Commissioners with a scan of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) landscape at a number of school districts in Los Angeles County. The results of the scan by First 5 LA and Children Now staff revealed that a strong majority of school staff support a countywide KRA system.

On the consent agenda, the Board approved a $7.9 million contract with Ogilvy Public Relations through June 2020 for strategic marketing and communications services to help advance the outcomes of First 5 LA’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.