Liz Guerra describes what first five means to her.

What do you love about First 5?

I think what I love about First 5 is that they seem to be the convener of gathering us together at the table to talk about important issues related to our county and the children and families that we serve.

What are you most looking forward to at this summit?

I’m really looking forward to is learning from other county’s across the state on their priorities. I think the more we can align our priorities the bigger policy impact we can make. In Los Angeles, were doing some incredible work right now, especially with our quality rating improvement system, Quality Start L.A..

What are some best practices that you have implemented in order to build partnerships in your community?

We’re using state dollars through Block Grant, our local First 5 Dollars, and state First 5 Dollars. So we’re really coordinating our systems. We’re doing some implementation of quality rating improvement systems right now, as well as thinking about the future and what that perfect QRIS system would be. I think one of the best practices that we’re looking at right now is this idea of what we call the QRIS Architects.

Can you explain what QRIS Architects are?

So the QRIS Architects are comprised of seven different organizations and as you can imagine in Los Angeles, getting seven of our large agencies together can be a challenge. Getting together and really thinking about how to leverage our resources, what we should be doing and what we can do is so beneficial. We’ve also gone to other county’s in California and we’re currently testing some of our practices right now in coaching, incentives, and assessments as it relates to QRIS.

How has First 5 L.A. helped you and your work?

With all our programs in L.A. County, currently we’re at about 880 programs, we service about 48,000 children. We’re very proud of the work that we’ve accomplished to date and look forward to the future of working together. Leveraging the dollars of local funds with state First 5 funds has allowed us to really expand our services to not just state funded programs, but all of our programs in L.A.. Even with serving 880 programs, its still only 4% of about our licensed sites, so we still have a long ways to go. But, it’s a great beginning and we couldn’t do it without the support of First 5 L.A. and the L.A. Department of Ed.

Quality Start LA