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 November 10 Commission meeting, highlights include a warm welcome for a new Commission alternate, new agreements to help at-risk fathers and implement the Early Care and Education Policy and Advocacy Fund, a presentation on First 5 LA’s partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection (OCP) and an update on Best Start alignment efforts.

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 Commission Alternate Welcomed

Commission and Los Angeles County Supervisor Chair Sheila Kuehl opened the Board meeting with a warm welcome to new Board Alternate Darren McDuffie. McDuffie serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), where he oversees the daily operations of the human resources department. Read more about him here.

New Agreements, Amendment Approved to Advance Education, Aid At-Risk Fathers and More

The Board approved a new agreement with Community Partners to implement the Early Care and Education Policy and Advocacy Fund. This is a multi-year initiative that aims to advance improved access to quality, affordable, and sustainable ECE. The Fund will provide partnership grants to state and local ECE advocacy organizations as opportunities emerge for ECE public policy and advocacy related projects. Community Partners will undertake four objectives: 1) provide administrative coordination of the Fund, including co-design of the Fund and carry out the competitive grantee selection process; 2) coordinate capacity building, learning and information sharing; 3) track and assess progress towards the anticipated Fund goals; and 4) inform First 5 LA’s efforts to build relationships with other funders/partners working to increase investments and policy changes in ECE. In the first year, Community Partners will re-grant $2 million in partnership grants to approximately eight policy and advocacy organizations, $500,000 in grants for emerging opportunities and the remaining $500,000 to carry out the four objectives listed above.

In another action, the Commission approved $300,627 for two new agreements under the At-Risk Fathers Investment. The first is with the City of Long Beach to establish a father-friendly Long Beach network of key institutions, service providers and fathers. The network will work to encourage local businesses, government and nonprofit operations to adopt guidelines that welcome and support fathers into their establishments and increase access to needed care and supportive services for fathers to create a safe, secure and stable environment for their children and families. The second agreement is with Friends Outside in Los Angeles County, which will work to build knowledge to inform and advance systems change, policies and practices at the agency/service provider level to enhance parenting capacities of fathers re-entering from probation or foster care and increase collaboration and partnerships amongst organizations working on engaging re-entry fathers. Through this work, Friends Outside will build an advisory council that will make recommendations based on a series of surveys and focus groups conducted through the project.

“It’s been a year of great change. A year of movement forward for First 5 LA.” -Sheila Kuehl

Finally, the Board approved a new Amendment with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, who currently provides capacity building support directly to the Best Start Community Partnerships to be high functioning Partnerships that lead to community change efforts. The $380,981 amendment will strengthen the Partnerships’ outreach and communications capacity and provide assistance to document their key decisions and progress towards milestones.

Moving Forward With the Office of Child Protection

With an emphasis on partnership being a key focus of First 5 LA’s new Strategic Plan, First 5 LA has begun critical work with the county’s new Office of Child Protection (OCP) to support their efforts to advance prevention and child safety.

First 5 LA Executive Vice President John Wagner, who has led those efforts with OCP, presented the Board with an update of the year’s progress. In this presentation, Wagner noted how First 5 LA coordinated a series of six meetings that linked OCP with community-based providers that were both members of the Prevention After Care Network and a Best Start Community provider. Carrie Miller, Assistant Executive Director with OCP, joined with Wagner in the presentation.

Through these meetings, as well as other information gathering efforts by First 5 LA and OCP, 12 consistent themes have emerged. These themes, along with other learnings from these networking efforts, can help inform a countywide prevention strategy as First 5 LA continues to support the work of the OCP.

Best Start Alignment Update

Commissioners received an update on the Best Start alignment strategy – the process of adjusting program and operational structures within Best Start to be consistent with best practices, community feedback and First 5 LA implementation experience and values.

This alignment strategy will clarify the appropriate role of First 5 LA and the intended impact for Best Start consistent with First 5 LA’s new strategic direction under the new 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

The first step in the alignment process is a reorganization of the operational support to the Best Start Community Partnerships, 13 of which receive direct programmatic, administrative and capacity building support directly from First 5 LA.

Following the initial landscape analysis and emergence of four design options completed this summer, staff will conduct regional feedback sessions among Best Start community partnership members and – working with an expert consultant – present a design recommendation to the Board by March 2017 that will include costs and implementation considerations.

Following the Board’s endorsement of the design recommendation, First 5 LA will continue the alignment process during the year in order to transition key operational support functions of the Best Start Community Partnerships by December 2017 to existing community organizations or networks that demonstrate the capability, values and philosophy required to support a collaborative community change initiative such as Best Start.

Find more details from the Commission meeting here.