FAM HEA - first 5

First 5 LA, a leading early childhood advocate and public grant maker recently launched an innovative Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign and Parenting website, both designed to empower and support parents and caregivers of Los Angeles County as they strive to give young children their very 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.”

Rolled out in various phases, the first part of the campaign will focus on the benefits of social connections and encourage caregivers to implement positive changes in their day-to-day interactions with their children, social network and community.

With parents at the center of this work, First 5 LA’s Family Strengthening Public Awareness Campaign will draw from the Five Protective Factors defined by the Center for the Study of Social Policy as the ideal approach and pathway to strengthen families. The five “Protective Factors” that support healthy children and families are: (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, and, (5) a caregiver’s ability to access support in times of need.

Needing support are dads who play an important role in their children’s lives and early development. Based on a national parent survey conducted by ZERO TO THREE, a nonprofit organization dedicating its work to helping infants and toddlers thrive, more than 8 in 10 parents believe that children are better off when both parents are involved.

The First 5 LA campaign and website take this into account, seeking ways to reach and engage fathers in their children’s lives from an early age.

Another key area of support for parents and caregivers is effective discipline. The ZERO TO THREE survey found that parents welcome help finding positive disciplinary strategies that work. The First 5 LA website offers a discipline Q&A with a parent coach, as well as articles to provide parents and caregivers with tips and ideas for positive discipline from quality sources.

“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.”

For more support and resources for parents, please visit First 5 LA’s parenting website: First5LA.org/Parenting.