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 June 9 Commission meeting, highlights include approval of the fiscal year 2016-17 budget, adoption of three new and one extended strategic partnership and an update on Welcome Baby’s voluntary home visiting program.
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.
New Budget Approved for 2016-17
First 5 LA’s Commission unanimously approved a new, $161.5 million budget on June 9 for fiscal year 2016-17 that advances the organization’s emphasis on sustainable public financing, public policy and systems-level change at a time when tobacco tax revenues are declining.
An overall decrease of $56.7 million (26 percent) reflects both a decline in tobacco tax revenues and expenditures. The FY 2016-17 budget also represents a strategic shift to focus on the strategies and investments prioritized in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.? This includes funding for the agency’s Best Start Communities effort, a voluntary home visiting program for new parents, and efforts to improve early care and education and health-related systems.
Key elements of the new budget, which went into effect on July 1, include:
- An increase of $32 million (54 percent) to support some of the initiatives in the four priority outcome areas in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. These four outcome areas include Families; Communities; Early Care and Education (ECE) Systems; and Health and Mental Health & Substance Abuse Systems.
- A decrease of $89.8 million (69 percent) in resources for Legacy Initiatives. This reduction includes approximately $55.4 million in annual funding specifically for Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), shifting the focus from direct services—providing funding for preschool slots—to policy and systems change in the area of early care and education as directed by the Strategic Plan. Read a detailed budget breakdown here.
Welcome Baby Update
Staff presented a Welcome Baby Implementation Update to the Board that featured the most recent enrollment statistics, outcome data from participation, and a look at future evaluations and policy and systems change efforts underway to educate legislators and stakeholders on the importance of home visiting.
As the largest investment in First 5 LA’s Families Outcome priority area, Welcome Baby is a free, voluntary hospital and home-based intervention open to all pregnant and postpartum women who give birth at one of the participating hospitals. In addition to maternal and infant screenings, expectant and new mothers in the program are visited by a nurse or trained home visitor who provides information on positive parenting, child health and development, breastfeeding and links to any needed community services. If a family is identified as needing more intensive support, they are referred to a Select Home Visiting program funded by First 5 LA.
Highlights of the presentation included a doubling of enrollment in Welcome Baby between fiscal years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, strong participation (78 percent of clients) by the Latino population and a majority of clients providing some or exclusive breastfeeding. Additionally, three more evaluations of the program will be conducted in the future. Read the full presentation here.
The presentation prompted both praise and discussion from the Board.
While Commissioner Deanne Tilton stated that she was “thrilled” that First 5 LA was investing in home visiting in Los Angeles County, she joined with Vice Chair Judy Abdo in asking how Welcome Baby identifies expectant mothers for risks of domestic violence. Senior Program Officer Diana Careaga replied that participating hospitals screen mothers and make referrals for those experiencing domestic violence. Commissioner Nancy Au applauded the learning presented about the program and requested that staff flesh out more profile information about participating families whenever appropriate. Alternate Commissioner Brandon Nichols expressed interest in ensuring that the program reaches out to the homeless and foster care populations. And Commission Chair/Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl expressed “praise” for the work being done by Welcome Baby while cautioning that “we must identify what is working and what isn’t, especially with this large of an investment.”
Key Actions and Strategic Partnerships Approved
In other key actions, the Board unanimously approved the reception of funds from First 5 California and four strategic partnerships. These include:
- Reception of up to $2,440,944 from First 5 California (F5CA) to receive funding beginning April 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2020 to establish a Regional Coordination and Training and Technical Assistance Hub (T/TA Hub) in Los Angeles County to support ongoing work toward a uniform Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) The work of the T/TA Hub will be supported through Data Systems and Planning Funds ($280,800) and Planning Information Support Funds ($16,000) from F5CA.
- A $475,000 partnership with Children Now to identify and implement a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) in Los Angeles County that can be used as a platform to advocate for policy, fiscal, and systems change.
- A four year, $1.75 million strategic partnership with the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (fiscal agent for Partnerships for Education, Articulation and Coordination through Higher Education: PEACH) to enhance First 5 LA’s early care and education (ECE) quality improvement efforts by advocating for an ECE teaching credential.
- A strategic partnership with the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA) for an amount not to exceed $1.2 million as part of First 5 LA’s goal of improving the quality of early care and education settings through a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
- Extension of a strategic partnership with Third Sector New England (fiscal agent for Opportunities Exchange) for up to $600,000 that enhances First 5 LA’s early care and education (ECE) quality improvement efforts by strengthening the capacity of ECE providers to work through a shared services approach.