Strengthening early childhood systems
2019 was a pivotal year for little kids in Los Angeles County. In addition to elevating the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a tool to measure early childhood wellbeing, there were several positive developments bringing the field closer to a unified vision where public and community systems are more family-centered and child-focused.
- On the EDI front, two new school districts – Compton Unified School District and Lowell Joint School District – joined the group of seven school districts in the county already collecting the EDI.
- First 5 LA and First 5 Orange County co-hosted the 2019 Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow Summit, highlighting the many ways in which cities and school districts across California and the nation are using EDI data to bring cross-sector partners together to improve the lives of children.
- Later in the year, First 5 LA also adopted its 2020-2028 strategic plan, boldly committing to making sure all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life by 2028.
- Concurrently, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health appointed Debra Colman as the Director for the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education (OAECE). Under her leadership, the OAECE, the L.A. County Child Care Planning Committee, and the L.A. County Policy Roundtable for Child Care and Development also adopted the first-ever, countywide strategic plan for early care and education. For the first time, UNITE-LA also became a member of the L.A. County Child Care Planning Committee in 2019.
With all the excitement and growing synergy around early childhood, First 5 LA and UNITE-LA are looking forward to collaborating with the OAECE in 2020 to leverage existing data, including the EDI, to integrate and strengthen early childhood systems.