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 connect families to effective evidence-based, innovative, and community-responsive resources, prioritizing home visiting and early intervention services.
- Advance and protect family supports to ensure families with young children and pregnant people are economically secure.
- Reduce barriers and eligibility requirements so children prenatal to 5 years old receive supports and services that promote healthy development at the earliest opportunities.
QUALITY EARLY LEARNING
Expand access to affordable, quality early care and education.
- Increase public investment in a mixed delivery early learning system prioritizing family choice and infants and toddlers.
- Ensure an equitable early learning quality support structure that responds to the diverse cultural and linguistic assets of all children and providers.
- Require benefits and fair pay for all early learning providers that reflect the critical roles they play.
Improve systems to promote the optimal development of children through early identification and supports.
- Promote alignment and integration throughout early identification, early intervention and family strengthening systems.
- Ensure children receive early and periodic validated developmental, health and behavioral screenings, and appropriate trauma-informed interventions.
- Incentivize preventative care to close maternal and pediatric health disparities.
Ensure communities have the resources and environment that supports optimal development of children prenatal to age 5.
- Advocate for communities’ increased opportunities to shape resources, services and social conditions to protect the wellbeing of young children and families.
- Promote local flexibility in policies and systems that directly impact families and neighborhoods.
- Elevate and utilize disaggregated data on the conditions of children and families to inform efforts in reducing barriers to access and improving the quality of service delivery systems.