The voice of an organized group is powerful — especially if you represent the children and families in each of the 58 counties across the state of California.
For the first time in First 5 history, representatives from nearly two dozen First 5s traveled jointly to Washington, D.C. for the inaugural “First 5 D.C. Advocacy Trip” to speak with one First 5 voice. First 5 LA was joined by First 5 California, the First 5 Association and other First 5 commissions from the counties of Fresno, Orange, Alameda, San Mateo, San Diego, Contra Costa, Placer and San Bernardino.
The First 5s showed up as a network to advocate for policies that benefit early childhood, help inform policymakers on how their federal decisions directly impact the communities they represent, and talk about First 5’s innovative work in helping children and their families in the two decades since the passage of Proposition 10 in 1998.
While First 5 LA is not new to federal advocacy efforts — as it is a pivotal part of its policy and systems change strategy — this year it was instrumental in coordinating with the First 5 Association to bring other commissions to the nation’s capital. Over the course of two days, the First 5 representatives engaged in a series of congressional meetings, a reception at the Capitol honoring the First 5 20th anniversary, and roundtable discussions with key partners.
From California's sprawling urban counties to its rural regions, representatives from First 5s were able to advocate on behalf of a diverse population of children and families First 5s serve across the state. Together, the First 5s held 39 legislative meetings with members of Congress and their staff.
During those meetings, First 5 representatives shared their accomplishments from the past two decades around early childhood development and advocated for the continued support of federal funding for programs like Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).