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First 5 LA Allocates $2.1 Million To Identify Five "Baby Zones"

First 5 LA Commissioners last Thursday approved a revised implementation plan to identify five "Baby Zones" to demonstrate how LA County communities can build safe and friendly places for families and caregivers to support children's development.

Approval of the $2.1 million allocation is part of a $125 million, five-year effort to work with community and business partners to optimize early development of children from the prenatal stage through age 3. Known as the Prenatal through 3 Focus Area, the project represents an innovative approach by First 5 LA to partner with outside organizations and individuals, such as health and child care providers, educators, parents, philanthropies, hospitals, municipalities, and private employers.

"We are looking to integrate all of our other initiatives that address health care, early learning, child abuse prevention, and prenatal care in a community-wide effort that will make neighborhoods in LA County particularly positive environments for having and raising children," said First 5 LA Executive Director Evelyn V. Martinez.

"By networking existing programs and filling in gaps, First 5 LA will serve as a catalyst for building and strengthening communities as well as services to families," she added.

To identify the communities that will become "Baby Zones," First 5 LA will conduct a series of focus groups early next year to introduce the concept to families and opinion leaders and get their feedback.

Other efforts include developing training programs for child care providers and teachers, fostering parent and agency leadership, implementing a comprehensive policy agenda, and recruiting a Prenatal through 3 partnership team of community, philanthropic, and business leaders to join First 5 LA in promoting healthy and safe environments for LA County's youngest children.

For information, contact Barbara Andrade DuBransky, First 5 LA program officer, at [email protected] or (213) 482-9428.

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