First 5 LA, in partnership with others, helps to strengthen families, communities and systems of services and supports so every child in Los Angeles County enters kindergarten is ready to succeed in school and life. In service of achieving this goal, the Policy Agenda guides First 5 LA’s analysis, engagement and position-taking on administrative, budgetary and legislative proposals at the local, state and federal level.
The Policy Agenda is centered in First 5 LA’s unique experiences and expertise, rooted in learnings from local investments and informed by community- and family-voice. Foundational to all aspects of the agenda are acknowledgments that:
1. Because the brain develops most rapidly during the earliest years of life, children ages prenatal to 5-years old represent a special population even within the cohort of “childhood” more broadly defined; and
2. Structural racism threatens the well-being of families of color, and can powerfully disrupt optimal development and health, as well as broader family stability.
The Policy Agenda is organized into four major policy priority areas. Embedded within each area is a focus on equity and the need to support children holistically in the context of their families and communities –– referred to colloquially as the “Whole Child and Whole Family” framework. As such, the policy agenda will work to close race-based disparities in health, well-being and opportunity; utilize the best available data and advocate for the availability of full and complete data to understand which communities face the most significant barriers to resources, and so have the greatest opportunity to benefit from First 5 LA policy and systems change efforts, and promote a holistic system of supports that is language- and culturally-appropriate.
Promote a comprehensive system of family supports to advance positive outcomes for the whole child
and whole family.
- Build systems that strategically layer effective evidence-based, innovative and community-responsive resources of family strengthening supports, prioritizing home visiting and early intervention services.
- Promote and protect family supports to ensure families with young children and pregnant women are economically secure.
- Improve capacity and coordination across early identification, early intervention and family strengthening systems.
QUALITY EARLY LEARNING
Expand access to affordable, quality early care and education.
- Increase public investment in early care and education systems prioritizing mixed delivery and family choice.
- Align an equitable and responsive early care and education quality support structure.
- Increase compensation and funded professional supports for the early care and education workforce.
Improve systems to promote the optimal development of children through early identification and supports that are family-responsive.
- Ensure children receive early and periodic validated developmental and behavioral screenings, and coordination to appropriate interventions
- Strengthen child and family serving systems to prevent, anticipate, and respond appropriately to adverse experiences, trauma, and toxic stress.
- Incentivize preventative care to close maternal and pediatric health disparities through disaggregated data.
Ensure communities have the resources and environment to optimize their child’s development.
- Increase opportunities for community voices to shape resources, services and other critical issues affecting young children and families.
- Promote local flexibility in policies and systems that directly impact families and neighborhoods.
- Elevate and utilize disaggregated population level and integrated service data for effective system delivery and improvement.