Best Start

About This Program

Target Population: Communities across 5 regions that cover 14 geographic areas in Los Angeles County where low birth rate, low performing schools and poverty are among risk factors for young children, along with geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity. The communities also possessed community infrastructure, community leadership, and commitment to partnership with First 5 LA.

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Program Overview

Best Start is First 5 LA’s strategy to advance community-identified solutions in 14 geographic areas/5 regions in Los Angeles County. These geographic areas have faced historic disenfranchisement and oppression through political, economic, social, and environmental factors that aggravate chronic family stressors such as violence and poverty. Despite these realities, these are sites of great strength and resiliency. For decades, champions and community leaders, along with parents of young children, have been working to create better futures for their children. Best Start is designed to help transform the systems supporting young children and their families, in a way that places the voice and experience of parents and residents in the center in developing solutions. These communities are reimagining what is possible through Best Start through the engagement of networks for collective advocacy, learning together, and building best practices to improve outcomes for children.

Program Goals

The goals of Best Start are:

  • Reduce barriers to services and resources.
  • Address barriers to access that differentially impact specific demographic groups (e.g., language and/or race/ethnicity).
  • Represent the community when influencing the policies and practices of systems.
  • Inform the input and advocacy efforts of family and community members.
  • Inform local programs and interventions about kindergarten-readiness levels.
  • Identify and advocate for shared priorities related to influencing policies and practices across systems.
  • Identify community priorities and track progress on population-level results.
  • Mobilize local coalitions among key partners within networks and strengthen the capacity of those participating in the coalitions to advocate and apply for existing and/or new resources.
  • Collect community-level data related to priorities for achieving population-level results to inform funding.
  • Build power that influences the general public and legislators to enact new policies and funding.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Best Start.

Essential Components

The essential components of Best Start include:

  • The way Best Start embodies the work of policy change, practice change, and will building is through two principal strategies:
    • Supporting the emergence of P–5 (prenatal to age 5) movements. In a P–5 movement, participants consciously commit together to hold themselves mutually accountable for progress toward the First 5 LA’s North Star, long-term results for children and families, and/or conditions of well-being.
      • Partnerships are evolving into networks.
      • One or more networks within the Best Start geographies are acting to increase Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, parents and residents.
      • Leadership structures have begun within the Best Start geographies committed to cohering movements focused on population level results.
      • Networks of people and organizations representing multiple stakeholder groups begin to coalesce around a shared commitment to achieve population-level results within Best Start geographies.
      • Movements are emerging in the Best Start geographies
    • Field Building - Through Best Start’s field building strategy, work is done collaboratively with partners to:
      • Strengthen knowledge and practices essential for successful movement building
      • Progress toward long-term results and community conditions of wellbeing, including knowledge and practices related to:
        • Increased capacity of nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups to strengthen engagement within Best Start geographies.
        • Strengthened ability of advocacy groups to engage in systems change to improve the built environment and/or other community conditions of well-being in partnership with parents and other organizations within the Best Start geographies.
        • Feedback to particular streams of action (e.g., presentations, etc.)
        • Improved county and municipal community engagement practices to inform decision-making about the built environment and/or other community conditions of well-being within Best Start geographies.
        • Increase number of resources invested within Best Start geographies related to the built environment and/or other community conditions of well-being.
        • Demonstrated incremental changes in values, will, mental models, practice, policy, and/or other actions in public systems that support progress on the built environment and/or other community conditions of well-being within the Best Start geographies.
        • Evidence of changing values, mental models, practice, policy, and other changes within First 5 Los Angeles (F5LA), Best Start partners, and among others committed to effecting population results for children P–5 and their families in LA County and beyond.

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Best Start directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Best Start does not typically provide services as traditionally defined. Its focus is on parent leadership training and community network development. However, during COVID, Best Start needed to shift to providing direct services to better support community members. This remains an ongoing analysis to understand the balance needed for collective advocacy efforts while addressing basic needs of families.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Other


This program does not include a homework component.


Best Start has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Personnel that come with a community-centered approach, contracted services for community and organizational capacity building and technical assistance, communications, evaluation, general equipment, space, supplies, training expenses, translation

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There is no minimum education requirement. Best Start has individuals with various levels of education working on different aspects of the program.

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Informal consultation is available.

Number of days/hours:

Informal consultation is available.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Best Start.

Additional References

Harder+Company Community Research & Special Service for Groups (SSG). (2015). Best Start learning report: Key findings & reflections.

Hill, I., Benatar, S., Adams, F., & Sandstrom, H. (2011). Best Start LA pilot community evaluation case study report 1: Implementing Best Start LA in metro LA—slow but steady progress for the place-based community initiative.

McCarthy, K. (2019). Best Start communities and capacity building in action.

Contact Information

Joaquin Calderon
Title: Senior Program Officer
Agency/Affiliation: First 5 LA
Phone: (213) 482-7818

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2022

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2022

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2022