Commission Approves Milestone First 5 LA Budget for 2015–16
As First 5 LA transitions from its old Strategic Plan toward implementing its new one, the agency’s Commission on June 11 approved a $229.7 million budget for fiscal year 2015–2016.
The fiscal year 2015–16 First 5 LA budget reflects an organization in progression from the 2009–2015 Strategic Plan ending June 30, 2015, to budget year 1 of the agency’s new 2015–2020 Strategic Plan, Focusing for the Future.
The budget allocates resources to support First 5 LA’s anchor investments in parent support programs, such as Welcome Baby and Select Home Visitation, and new efforts to advance policy and systems change to ensure that all Los Angeles County children enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life.
In 2015–16, First 5 LA is projected to receive $85.6 million in state tobacco tax revenues, well short of its $229.7 million in expenditures (which reflect multiple expenses associated with commitments made in previous years). This difference will be funded by a $144 million draw on the agency’s fund balance. As funds set aside to meet prior obligations are expended, First 5 LA’s fund balance will continue to decline. As part of the new Strategic Plan, the agency will fulfill its goal to “live within its means” by balancing revenues with expenditures by 2020.
The new 2015–16 budget represents a $4.2 million increase over the agency’s 2014–15 projected expenditures. This increase is due primarily to a number of “anchor” investments ramping up to full implementation; delays in current year activity; and data development and the expansion of strategic communications, policy and advocacy efforts.
Out of the $229.7 million, roughly $208.9 million, or 91 percent, is dedicated to programs to strengthen families, communities and systems of services.
A total of $68 million – or 30 percent – of the proposed budget falls under the new 2015–2020 Strategic Plan. This includes:
- $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.
- $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.
- $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 $133.2 million of the budget is slated for Legacy Investments, or those 25 investments that represent work approved under prior Strategic Plans that is 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, which is critical toward determining the effectiveness of programs and policy approaches, will account for $7.6 million of the 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 $20.7 million – or 9 percent – of the proposed budget would be earmarked for operating costs.
Final Year of Funding For LAUP Approved
The Commission approved the final year of funding for Los Angeles Universal Preschool, or LAUP.
Fiscal year 2015–2016 represents the final year of First 5 LA’s 10-year performance-based contract with LAUP – a contract that is scheduled to end on June 30, 2016, and has focused on support for quality early learning slots in Los Angeles County.
The proposed FY 15–16 contract reflects LAUP’s continued work in direct funding of preschool spaces. LAUP has chosen to direct the majority of the proposed $60.3 million final budget for 2015–2016 to maintain support for roughly 10,700 slots in this final year. LAUP will also retain the remaining balance from First 5 LA’s original $580 million allocation. This balance is estimated to be between $30 million and $40 million.
Board Approves Renewal of Expiring Strategic Partnerships
Following the Commission’s approval of First 5 LA’s 2015-2016 Strategic Plan: Focusing for the Future last November, staff has accessed existing Strategic Partnerships expiring during the next fiscal year. Upon that review, staff found that the following Strategic Partnerships align with the outcomes of the new Strategic Plan. The Commission approved staff’s recommendation that these Strategic Partnerships be renewed:
1) A renewal of a Strategic Partnership with the South Bay Center for Counseling (SBCC) for Learning By Doing: Resident Engagement and Neighborhood Action Councils through the next Strategic Plan FY 2015-20 with a contract for $3,520,000 for fiscal year 2015-2016. Staff recommended the renewal because of its alignment with the new Strategic Plan’s Communities Outcome Area and related strategies.
2) Renewal of Strategic Partnerships with 14 Welcome Baby/Universal Assessment grantees through the next Strategic Plan FY 2015-20 with grant amounts totaling $21,671,669. This total does not include agreements for Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital and Kaiser Hospital Baldwin Park which will be brought to the board for approval on consent once negotiations are complete. Staff recommended this renewal because of its alignment with the new Strategic Plan’s Family Outcome Area and related strategies.
3) A renewal of a Strategic Partnership with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health: Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health for the Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) project with a contract for $260,000 for fiscal year 2015-16. Staff recommended approval to complete final data collection for the follow-up survey as well as the analysis of both the 2014 LAMB survey and the follow-up survey since the 2015-20 Strategic Plan allows for completion of current funding commitments through to their successful conclusion.
4) A renewal of a Strategic Partnership with Third Sector New England (fiscal sponsor for Opportunities Exchange) for ECE Shared Services in Los Angeles County in the amount of $200,000 for fiscal year 2015-16 in order to continue building on the momentum and work that has occurred during the past six months and to leverage investments in Shared Services by other First 5 Commissions and funders nationwide. This funding is aligned to the new Strategic Plan Communities Focus Area to convene and strengthen the capacity of ECE- and health-related organizations to improve service.
For SBCC and the 14 Welcome Baby/Universal Assessment grantees, all subsequent contracts for the remainder of the next Strategic Plan will be brought to the board for approval on consent prior to execution.
Board Extends Healthy Kids Outreach Initiative
As part of First 5 LA’s Expiring Initiative Assessment Process, the Board also waived Governance Guideline #7 and approved a six-month extension of the strategic partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) for the Healthy Kids Outreach Initiative (CHOI) through December 31, 2015, for up to $2 million to support the Healthy Kids program (LA Care) transition and outreach sustainability.
Components of the assessment include identifying remaining resources, evaluating the alignment of each initiative with the new Strategic Plan, and making recommendations to the Commission about continuing, revising or sunsetting the effort.
CHOI provides a mechanism for reducing the number of uninsured residents through a coordinated outreach effort for the various health coverage programs for low-income children.
Public Hearing on New Strategic Plan
First 5 LA’s new 2015-2020 Strategic Plan: Focusing for the Future, was approved by the Commission in November, 2014. As part of its procedural requirements under Proposition 10, First 5 LA is required to hold public hearings annually to review First 5 LA’s Strategic Plan.
The hearing was held during the June 11 Commission Meeting. There was no public comment on the new Strategic Plan.
Executive Director’s Report
Executive Director Kim Belshé presented the Board with highlights from the following three recent First 5 LA events:
- First 5 LA partnered with Antelope Valley Partners for Health and Antelope Valley Hospital to convene the second in a series of meetings to learn more about First 5 LA’s Welcome Baby home visiting program with staff of California Assemblymember Tom Lackey, U.S. Congressman Steve Knight and First 5 LA Commission Chair and Los Angeles County Mayor Michael Antonovich. The roundtable discussion provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about Welcome Baby’s relationship to early learning, child health, and maternal well-being, as well as the reach of Welcome Baby at full implementation, initial evaluation outcomes and the importance of public investment in home visiting. A number of Welcome Baby moms – with their babies – joined the conversation with “wonderful and personal testimonies” about the information, support, and access to services the program facilitated, as well as “feedback on where we could do better.”
- First 5 LA’s first Family Strengthening Network Summit on June 2 drew more than 450 professionals working to support two of First 5 LA’s core investments: Welcome Baby and Select Home Visiting. Belshé noted that participants, which included First 5 LA Commissioner Suzanne Bostwick, were “very touched” to see the impact the program was having on the lives of pregnant women and new mothers and their babies throughout Los Angeles County. It was important to note how the Welcome Baby program had grown from a single pilot in 2009 to a path that will include 15 hospitals.
- First 5 LA joined with Abriendo Puertas, the Aspen Institute, and others to co-sponsor a symposium to explore strategies to reduce poverty for children and parents together. The focus of the Los Angeles meeting was to explore approaches to build a “cycle of opportunity” in LA County by advancing educational success and economic security for children and their parents. First 5 LA Commissioners Dr. Joseph Ybarra, Jr., Judy Abdo and Sandra Figueroa-Villa Belshé were among the participants who heard two-generation strategies from leaders from academia, philanthropy and state government, as well as from community leaders. Several themes from the meeting reinforced the work of First 5 LA, including the power of social connections through Best Start, early childhood education, health and well-being promotion and social capital building.