For Immediate Release: March 30, 2021


Wagner to Help Evolve Systems Change Work to Improve Outcomes for Young Children

LOS ANGELES– First 5 LA announced today that the organization’s Executive Vice President, John Wagner, will lead the Center for Child and Family Impact beginning April 5. Wagner will continue to serve as First 5 LA’s EVP as he transitions to his new CCFI leadership role from his current post leading the Center for Operational Excellence.

In his new role, Wagner will be responsible for leading the CCFI’s systems change efforts to change policy and practice and build public will to prioritize and improve outcomes for young children in Los Angeles County. Wagner first joined the early childhood advocacy and public grantmaking organization as Chief Operating Officer in December 2012.

“John is a key leader for First 5 LA, establishing and nurturing strong relationships with Los Angeles County leaders to improve the coordination and integration of services and supports for L.A. families,” said Kim Belshé, Executive Director of First 5 LA. “Working alongside diverse partners, the CCFI team is evolving our systems change work, our partnerships and contribution to improved outcomes for children and families. John is uniquely qualified to maintain that momentum and accelerate progress for kids.”

Belshé noted Wagner’s extensive experience and knowledge of federal, state and county government and the broader First 5 LA ecosystem, assets that will accelerate and strengthen the organization’s capacity to execute the agency’s Strategic Plan.

“I’m excited about the great work we as an organization, and the Center for Children and Family Impact, have already begun,” said Wagner of his appointment. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen our collaboration with county officials, community leaders and other partners to help propel CCFI’s work throughout the family-serving county and community systems here in L.A. County.”

Wagner has served nearly 30 years in family-serving state government systems in various capacities. Prior to First 5 LA, Wagner served as California’s Director of the Department of Social Services, which oversees child welfare, public assistance, food security and childcare. 

“My first priority is to support our ability to successfully execute our 2020-28 Strategic Plan. We are in a pivotal stage of sharpening our strategic focus and adapting our organization to make a greater impact,” Belshé added. “With his deep experience, knowledge, relationships and passion for the work, John is uniquely qualified move the team forward and deliver on First 5 LA’s efforts to advance a safe, equitable and just Los Angeles County for our children.”

Leading the Center for Child and Family Impact, Wagner and the CCFI team will strengthen public and community systems to become more family-centered and child-focused and promote equitable outcomes.

Wagner’s appointment to lead the Center for Child and Family Impact is effective April 5, 2021. Jasmine Frost, who currently serves as First 5 LA’s Director of Information Technology, will serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Operational Excellence.

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