FIRST 5 LA SELECTS 12 TARGET COMMUNITIES FOR FUNDINGJune 10, 2010
|LOS ANGELES-- The First 5 LA Commission today selected 12 Best Start communities to target for millions of dollars in funding as part of a new strategic plan focused on comprehensive efforts to improve the lives of young children in neighborhoods of high need.
The Commission plans to invest a total of $400 to $550 million in "place-based" efforts to increase the well-being of children prenatal through age 5 in the following communities:
"We believe this place-based strategy will provide a more comprehensive approach to helping children and strengthening families because it allows us to better target and coordinate services in communities of high need throughout the county," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who is chair of the First 5 LA Commission. "In this time of tremendous economic need, it makes sense to target investments in order to maximize their benefits to our most vulnerable children."
First 5 LA's place-based approach will be paired with countywide strategies that will improve delivery of services to children, policies affecting young children, and other systems of support with the goal of improving the lives of all children countywide. Specifically, First 5 LA will focus on efforts to assure children are born healthy, maintain a healthy weight, are safe from abuse and neglect and enter kindergarten ready to learn.
Under the new plan that will guide First 5 LA investments through 2015, young children and families in Best Start communities will receive an extensive range of support for expectant and new mothers, parent education classes, family counseling and case management for high-risk children and their families. All First 5 LA efforts will seek to generate permanent, positive change at both the community and countywide level.
Over the next five years, First 5 LA, a public grantmaking and child advocacy organization, will work with local parents, caregivers, community-based organizations, businesses, elected officials, clergy and other leaders in each community to develop and sustain programs that most effectively improve the lives of young children in each Best Start community.
First 5 LA's strategic plan that moves its investments from a more traditional, initiative-based funding approach to the place-based and countywide strategies was shaped with the input of grantees and other stakeholders in the early childhood field.
"After engaging grantees, community stakeholders, other funders and child development experts during a multi-stage process over the last two years, we concluded that a more focused, integrated funding approach would provide a greater opportunity to leverage prior investments while working to improve the well-being of young children most in need," said Evelyn V. Martinez, executive director of First 5 LA. "We want to create places where children and families are supported and nurtured because this is a key factor in their healthy development."
Communities were selected after an extensive, data-driven process examining communities of highest need along with an assessment of their existing capacity to support young children. Dollar investments in each community will vary based on need and existing resources for children and families.
Additionally, First 5 LA will provide transitional funding for current grantees whose initiatives end in the next year. Those grants will be extended through June 2011, and grantees will be offered further transitional support in the areas of infrastructure development and organizational capacity-building.
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