Funding Will Focus on Connecting Families, Who Have Developmental Concerns, to Existing Services
LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2020 — First 5 LA today announced a $2,250,000 investment across five community partners to strengthen and expand referral pathways to better connect families, who have developmental concerns, to services and supports. The investment is part of Help Me Grow Los Angeles (HMG LA), an effort of First 5 LA and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) to improve connections between providers so that every child receives support for developmental concerns. The three-year investment, HMG LA Pathways, brings together agencies and programs that provide early identification and intervention services for developmental delays with other agencies and families.
In L.A. County, various state and county agencies, programs and community-based organizations — such as local Regional Centers, schools, health, mental health, child welfare, and early childhood education programs — manage and deliver early identification along with prevention and early intervention services and supports. For many families, the availability of these services feels fragmented and challenging to navigate. This results in far too many children with developmental concerns not accessing intervention services early enough, or at all.
“Families of children with developmental concerns often encounter challenges accessing early intervention services because of limited or no coordination among providers, eligibility requirements and complex referral processes,” said Christina Altmayer, Vice President of Programs, First 5 LA. “Breaking down these barriers is critical to help families navigate resources to maximize opportunities for early intervention. This is particularly important for children of color who, unfortunately, face barriers and delays in accessing early intervention services. We want to make sure all children get the services they need when they need it.”
Research indicates that there are disparities between different racial and ethnic groups, children living in different socioeconomic conditions, and gender differences, in terms of access to developmental screening, early intervention, and diagnosis of developmental disabilities. The goal of HMG LA Pathways is to improve existing referral pathways through technology, infrastructure and practice change to make sure all children get the services they need when they need it. The community partners each receiving a $450,000 grant over three years are:
- Child Care Resource Center (North LA County)
- Children’s Bureau of Southern California (Lanterman – MidWilshire/Pasadena)
- Heluna Health/Eastern Los Angeles Family Resource Center (Eastern LA)
- South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (South Central LA)
- Westside Regional Center (Westside)
These partners will each be creating a collaborative within their community and are tasked with planning, testing and refining strategies so that the referral pathways in a community are more coordinated, integrated and multidirectional. Communities overlap with L.A. County’s seven Regional Center boundaries to ensure countywide reach. First 5 LA anticipates releasing a separate funding opportunity for the remaining two communities, San Gabriel/Pomona and Harbor/Long Beach.
“Many families in Los Angeles County face unnecessary challenges when they seek out support and services to address concerns about their child’s development, as navigating the landscape is often over complicated and time consuming,” said Linda Aragon, Director of the Division of Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “First 5 LA’s Pathways investment is an important step toward creating a more streamlined, more connected system that not only provides validation to these family’s concerns, but also provides support in finding the answers they are looking for. Pathways is a critical piece of Help Me Grow LA’s work and is a testament to our shared commitment in supporting families across Los Angeles County.”
Pathways is a foundational step to building a connected and robust system of care across L.A. County to make sure every child receives supports and resources to benefit their development and growth.
Help Me Grow LA is a collaboration between First 5 LA and LACDPH. For more information, please visit First5LA.org/Help-Me-Grow
About First 5 LA
First 5 LA is an independent public agency working to strengthen systems, parents and communities so that by 2028, all children in L.A. County will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. For more information please visit, First5LA.org.
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.