261964 Improving the Health and Development of Young Children in Los Angeles: Best Start LA Begins to Bear Fruit

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ian Hill, MPA, MSW , Health Policy Center, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Sarah Benatar, PhD , Health Policy Center, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Heather Sandstrom, PhD , Center on Labor, Human Services and Population, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Fiona Adams, BA , Health Policy Center, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Best Start LA is a “place-based” initiative designed to promote the health, safety, and development of children while supporting families in the community. Resources are focused in the pilot Metro LA community in downtown Los Angeles, and multiple strategies are employed, including home visiting for mothers of infants and development of family-friendly community services. The Best Start LA evaluation assesses the initiative's success in improving child/family functioning and expanding the capacity of the community to support families with young children. Evaluation results will inform the implementation of Best Start LA initiatives in 14 additional communities across Los Angeles County.

At the three-year point in this six-year evaluation, three rounds of case studies, two rounds of focus groups, and the first of three waves of the longitudinal survey are complete.

Roughly 2,000 parents and newborns have received Welcome Baby! home visits from nurses and college educated “parent coaches,” designed to promote breast feeding, child health and development, parenting, home and environmental safety, and use of community resources. Focus groups with parents indicate that mothers place high value on the service, form strong bonds with visitors, and perceive improved breast feeding and parenting. Community components have been slower to take hold, though 30 “mini grants” have supported development of community-based education, support, beautification, safety, and play projects.

The longitudinal survey compares outcomes for children in Metro LA to two control groups of children, exploring differences in child health, nutrition, and development, and parenting and breast feeding, among other outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe how MCH home visiting fits within a broader context of a place-based investment. Differentiate between various levels of intensity regarding home visiting interventions. Assess the relative effects of home visiting vis a vis other community investments in helping to promote child health and development.

Keywords: Home Visiting, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am project director and principal investigator for the evaluation of Best Start LA and am therefore qualified to present findings on all aspects of the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.