LOS ANGELES -First 5 LA, a leading early childhood advocate and public grantmaker, today formally announced the launch of a new, innovative Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign and Parenting website. The multiyear effort will help Los Angeles County parents and caregivers by providing them with vital, user-friendly tips, ideas and resources to give young children their best start.
“Parents and caregivers are at the heart of a child’s development and we want them to know that they are not alone in their efforts,” said First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé. “This campaign is built on research about what type of resources the parents and caregivers of L.A. County would find beneficial and would support the positive outcomes we all want for L.A.’s kids.”
This first phase of the Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign will focus on the benefits of social connections and encourage caregivers to implement positive changes in their day-to-day interactions with their child, social networks and community. In addition to a countywide presence, campaign ads will appear in locations within First 5 LA’s 14 Best Start communities – acting as a complement to ongoing programs and services currently being offered to families. Other unique aspects of the effort include messaging for diverse populations with advertising created in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
Today was also the formal launch of First 5 LA’s new parenting website, an online resource hub designed for parents and caregivers. Based upon research into parenting needs in L.A. County, the site features a calendar with free and low-cost family-friendly events, exclusive coupons for kid-friendly venues such as the L.A. Zoo and California ScienCenter, and originally-written and researched articles on a variety of early childhood development topics. The site also offers an “Ask a Parent Coach” feature where parents and caregivers can submit questions and get advice tailored to their needs on 20 topics.
The parenting site was built with mobile users in mind, making all of the features accessible and easy to use on smartphones and tablets.
Research shows that parents and caregivers rely on both personal sources such as friends, family, pediatricians and digital sources such as parenting sites, sites sponsored by trusted organizations, and Facebook to receive information about parenting. Parents learned about reliable digital sources from their personal networks including friends and other parents. Most parents used smartphones far more frequently than laptops, desktops or tablets to receive information.
“All parents and caregivers want information they can trust and depend on. We also know young parents look to the internet and social media for guidance and support. This campaign offers information parents can trust and its mobile-friendly version makes it even more accessible,” said First 5 LA Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Judy Abdo. “Reaching younger parents is a critical part of our work – the launch of this campaign and website is an important step for us.”
Joining First 5 LA at today’s announcement was Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping infants and toddlers thrive. The nonprofit recently commissioned a national survey to gain a clear and in-depth understanding about the challenges that parents face, the help they seek and how satisfied they are with the support they receive.
“If we care about very young children we must care about, listen to and meet the needs of their parents. It’s exciting to see the learnings behind our national parent survey being applied to the development of practical tools,” Melmed said. “We’re pleased to be part of the launch of First 5 LA’s Family Strengthening Campaign, an excellent example of how we can support parents to strengthen families and give children their best start in life.”
First 5 LA’s Strategic Plan puts parents at the center of its work. The Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign draws from what research has shown is the pathway to building stronger families. The five “Protective Factors” that support healthy children and families include (1) parent resilience and stress management, (2) the presence of positive social connections, (3) a better understanding of how children develop and how to best support them as they grow, (4) the ability to raise children in a nurturing environment, as well as (5) a caregiver’s ability to access support in times of need.
About First 5 LA First 5 LA is a leading public grantmaking and early childhood advocacy organization created by California voters to invest Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues in Los Angeles County. In partnership with others, First 5 LA strengthens families, communities, and systems of services and supports so that all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. Please visit www.first5la.org for more information.
ABOUT ZERO TO THREE ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers.