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First 5 LA Budget Proposed for 2015–16 Puts Focus on Children and Families

A $228.2 million budget for First 5 LA has been proposed for fiscal year 2015–2016, the first budget under the agency’s new five-year Strategic Plan.

This budget is a critical step toward helping First 5 LA improve how it contributes to positive and lasting change for children prenatal to age 5, supporting parents and caregivers in their efforts to get their children ready for kindergarten and beyond.

The proposed budget presented at the May 14 Commission meeting represents a $2.7 million increase over the agency’s 2014–15 expenditures. This increase is due specifically to a number of “anchor” investments ramping up to full implementation and the expansion of strategic communications, policy and advocacy efforts.

It is a transition to a reduced focus on direct services to a strategic focus driven by policy and systems improvement strategies. -Raoul Ortega

“The fiscal year 2015–16 First 5 LA budget reflects an organization in transition from the 2009–2015 Strategic Plan ending June 30, 2015, to budget year 1 of our new 2015–2020 Strategic Plan, Focusing for the Future,” said First 5 LA Finance Director Raoul Ortega. “It is a transition to a reduced focus on direct services to a strategic focus driven by policy and systems improvement strategies.”

Added Ortega: “Out of the $228 million, roughly $207.5 million, or 91 percent, is dedicated to programs to strengthen families, communities and systems of services so that all children in Los Angeles County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life.”

A total of $68 million — or 30 percent — of the proposed budget falls under the new 2015–2020 Strategic Plan. This includes:

  • $3.1 million for new investments related to anticipated Year 1 activities in the following four new Strategic Plan Outcome Areas: $636,000 for Families; $1,093,750 for Communities; $370,000 for Early Care & Education Systems; $546,250 for Health, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Systems and $490,000 for other/cross-cutting activities.
  • $53.6 million for “anchor” activities outlined in the Strategic Plan that are already in progress and ramping up to full implementation, including Welcome Baby and Select Home Visiting Family Strengthening investments, as well as the community capacity building investments in the 14 Best Start communities.
  • $7.5 million to support key policy and advocacy efforts and strategic communications and marketing approaches to advancing the four outcome areas of the new Strategic Plan.
  • $3.6 million in existing investments potentially aligned with the new Strategic Plan, including Healthy Kids and Information Resource and Referral.

Another $131.5 million — or 58 percent — of the budget is proposed for Legacy Investments, or those 25 investments that represent ongoing work of the Commission that are expected to end according to the terms of the initiative or project approval. Among these investments are children’s dental care, children’s vision care, healthy food access, peer support groups for parents and reducing childhood obesity. Further details on these and other Legacy Investments can be found here.

Research and Evaluation will account for $7.9 million — or 3 percent — of the proposed budget. This includes work on projects that align with and contribute to the new Strategic Plan outcomes and strategies, as well as ongoing projects aligned to Legacy Investments.

The remaining $20.6 million — or 9 percent — of the proposed budget would be earmarked for operating costs.

A copy of the presentation to the Board is available in the agenda packet here. The Commission will vote on the proposed budget at the June 11 Board meeting.

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