At this month’s First 5 LA Board of Commissioners’ meeting, we approved funding for two creative collaborations to leverage Resources from several County departments to help First 5 LA meet its goals in providing a comprehensive, integrated continuum of community-oriented resources directed to vulnerable children and their families.

Help Me Grow-Los Angeles (HMG-LA) has entered into a wonderful strategic partnership with the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) to serve as the HMG-LA Organizing Entity. HMG-LA works to improve the coordination and functioning of early developmental and behavioral screening and intervention. It is not a program or a direct service, but rather a systems framework for improving access to existing resources and services for children. The HMG-LA Leadership Council and Workgroup members (124 individuals from over 60 county departments and programs all across L.A. County) have been analyzing local data and research on early identification and intervention pathways, developing recommendations and identifying strategies.

First 5 LA is also working in collaboration with the LA County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) to coordinate efforts to connect DPSS’ CalWORKs participants from DPSS GAIN (Greater Avenues for Independence) to an effective referral program. Through this strategic partnership, First 5 LA will be able to allocate additional home visiting services for up to 50 families with children ages 0-5. Home visiting has the potential to accomplish goals that DPSS seeks, such as preventing child maltreatment and preventing recurrence of cases, as well as addressing barriers to employment and self-sufficiency by improving access to child care.

This ever-expanding coalition of providers in a variety of sectors is working collaboratively toward a shared agenda that promotes children’s healthy development, and builds efficient and effective early childhood systems that support families so that children can grow to their full potential and thrive. I look forward to many more of these innovative partnerships!