Strong Families are the foundation to First 5 LA achieving our North Star of all children in Los Angeles County entering kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life by 2028. Families are at the center of all of First 5 LA’s work and recognized as the primary caregiver and educator of their children. First 5 LA believes that we can help families be their child’s best support by connecting them to trusted health, early education and community-level services for children. An optimal system of family supports would provide net effective evidence-based, innovative, and community-responsive resources that assist in achieving strong outcomes for all families. In addition to offering high-quality programs and supports that prevent poor outcomes for children and families, comprehensive assistance would be offered in a coordinated manner that would facilitate access for families to the full set of community resources each family may need. Our work to support families is grounded in increasing access to high-quality, evidence-based and voluntary home visiting services, as well as ensuring that the services that families engage in most frequently during the child’s earliest years, such as health and early education, are accessible, available and engage parents effectively.
First 5 LA has been a leading advocate and funder of voluntary home visiting services. A home visitor provides educational supports to help parents be their child’s best teacher, assesses family and child needs, connects the family with additional social, medical and mental health services, as appropriate, and builds community-level social connections. First 5 LA and its countywide partners are working to build a universal voluntary system of home visiting services in Los Angeles County, launching a lifetime of community connection and support. Working with county, state and local community partners, First 5 LA is working to build a universal system of voluntary Perinatal and Early Childhood Home Visiting, a key strategy in overall readiness for school and the prevention of child maltreatment. Home visitors promote optimal child development and act as ambassadors to the early childhood stage of life and to associated community experiences and supports.
The evidence for the value of home visiting is strong. Home visiting has a proven evidence base of strengthening maternal-child bonding, increased reliance on breastfeeding, improved parenting practices, and improved child cognitive and social development. From a child’s critical early years of life to the changing needs that come as they grow, having a coach through this period sets all families up for optimal results by providing anticipatory developmental guidance and support in garnering needed resources. Home visiting simultaneously supports the health of caregiver/child and caregiver/community relationships, with the intent of ensuring strong bonding and attachment for children and strong community navigation skills for families.