First 5 Los Angeles Family Literacy Initiative Evaluation

First 5 LA logoThe First 5 LA Family Literacy Initiative, which began in 2002, is a comprehensive program to promote language and literacy development, parenting knowledge and skills, and economic self-sufficiency among low-income families in Los Angeles County through 1) grants to selected agencies providing direct services, and 2) funding for the Family Literacy Support Network (FLSN) to support capacity-building efforts among these agencies and throughout the county. Each family literacy program provides services through each of its four interrelated family literacy program components: 1) early childhood education (ECE), 2) parent-child interactive literacy activities (PCILA), 3) parenting education, and 4) adult education.

AIR has worked with First 5 LA since the beginning of the initiative to evaluate its implementation and overall effectiveness. The first four years of the evaluation (Phase I) focused on process, outcomes, and policy-relevant issues (Final Phase I report, PDF). Phase II of the evaluation—now in its final year—focuses on the relationships between elements of program quality and those family outcomes, along with best practices lessons learned from the initiative and their application to other initiatives addressing the needs of children, from birth to age five, and their families (Final Phase II Report, PDF).

Overall, the study found statistically significant positive growth among parents and children on a range of outcome measures—including parents’ reports of their home literacy behaviors and parenting practices; assessments of children’s language, early literacy, and mathematics learning; and parents’ English reading scores. The study has also found some evidence of greater growth among families receiving greater levels of service.