connect Honorable Mention / 2018

Making LA the Best Place to Connect Angelenos to Support a Strong Start for Niñitos

Making LA the Best Place to Connect Angelenos to Support a Strong Start for Niñitos

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Children Now

Children Now will support thousands of Angelenos to voice their support for quality care and education for LA’s babies.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Too often in LA, children—especially children of color, children in foster care, and those growing up in poverty—face many systemic barriers to a healthy early start. In order to build the public pressure necessary to push policymakers to ensure all young kids have the supports they need to thrive in their first years, Children Now will execute a communications campaign to educate, connect, and mobilize Angelenos behind a strong vision for LA’s babies.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

In the first three years of a child’s life, foundational brain architecture is established, making children’s earliest experiences the most important. The creation of healthy brain architecture is dependent on good health, positive and nurturing relationships with adults, exposure to enriching learning opportunities, and safe neighborhoods. Yet, many of LA’s babies don’t receive the supports they need for a health start.

Children Now is committed to supporting and connecting the incredible constituency power that exists in LA to influence state and local policymaking in favor of our youngest kids. Policymakers are paying too little attention and allocating too few resources to those formative early years. We will execute a multi-faceted communications plan to raise awareness, build public support, and activate Angelenos behind a social media campaign in support of quality care, education and experiences for all of LA’s babies.

Children Now will leverage its reach to hundreds of organizations and businesses in LA County through The Children’s Movement, a network of more than 470 direct service, business, parent, civil rights, faith-based and community-based organizations dedicated to improving the lives of kids, as well as use social media analytics to identify key organizations and businesses to promote messaging on early brain and social emotional development. Among this group, we will select key organizations and businesses that have a strong social media presence in LA to partner on social media content distribution. By coordinating the social media reach of hundreds of organizations behind one campaign, we will increase social media connections among Angelenos.

Once our influencer network is established, Children Now will develop and disseminate weekly content and toolkits for social media influencers to share online and to educate reporters on infant and toddler issues. This content will include:

  • Infographics highlighting key data and statistics on the need for strong supports for early brain development and social emotional development;

  • Video blog posts on early brain development and social emotional development for young children;

  • Shareable memes and photos with data points highlighting the need for better supports for infants and toddlers;

  • Links to partners’ and researchers’ reports and materials that highlight infant and toddler issues; and

  • Social media posts targeted at key state and LA County candidates of the 2018 election.

Our social media push will target window of opportunity for Angelenos to help push California’s gubernatorial and other state and local candidates to prioritize young children and, further, to stick to his or her campaign promise to support young children and to develop a plan to move forward on a comprehensive system of support for babies.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

Social media can be a powerful tool to connect and engage with the general public to convey a powerful message, however, it can be difficult to break through the “noise” to reach a wide audience. If all of the LA-based direct service, business, parent, civil rights, community, and faith-based groups that care about young children were connected and spoke with a unified voice, there would be significant policy changes for kids in LA, and infant and toddler outcomes would dramatically improve. Children Now has already established a network of these groups through The Children’s Movement. We will engage the more 470 members in LA County in this network. Engaging groups with existing, large social media followings is a key strategy for maximizing reach to a broader audience. So, in addition, we use social media analytics to identify influencers with a strong interest in early childhood development to further our messaging.

We will educate this influencer network on the need for early childhood supports and services in LA County through our toolkits and give them the content needed to engage their social media followers in a campaign for early childhood development in LA County. We will use tools such as hashtags, Thunderclaps, and Twitter Chats to generate buzz around the campaign. The network will also have opportunities to weigh in with candidates and policymakers through issue awareness and sign on campaigns.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Children Now’s ultimate goal is for policymakers to take action on a unified, long-term policy plan for a comprehensive system of support for infants and toddlers. Our key objective for this activation is to connect LA voices to demonstrate the strong support for infants, toddlers and their families. For this project, we will measure our success by the following metrics:

  • Number of LA social media influencers engaged with to join our infant and toddler support network.

  • Estimated reach of social media influencers that have shared key posts, resources and advocacy tools and participated in related Twitter Chats on infants and toddlers.

  • Number of resources, including infant and toddler infographics, one-page snapshots, video blogs, graphics and memes, that are developed and disseminated.

  • Number of LA stakeholders and partners informed by the Children Now-developed infant and toddler policy roadmap

  • Number of LA groups and individuals that participate in Children’s Movement campaigns including sign on statements and communications to policymakers.

  • Number of infant and toddler social media posts that are targeted at key LA County state candidates of the 2018 election.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

This activation is a key component of our broader agenda to develop and sustain a comprehensive, family-centered, high quality early learning system that is accessible to all children and families, particularly those living in poverty. Public awareness and support building is a crucial piece of putting pressure on LA policymakers to make real change for young children. LA is the ideal place to be the most connected for children’s advocacy, because if the policy change is scaled here, there is no excuse for not scaling it throughout California, and, then, given California’s size and diversity, throughout the country.

We know achieving the vision of a comprehensive, family-centered, high quality early learning system won’t happen overnight. There will be many steps in the process, and we need to keep a network of dedicated Angelenos engaged throughout. In five years, our goal is that Children Now will move from significantly elevating an aspirational policy and advocacy vision for integrated infant and toddler supports in LA to achieving key policy wins on components of the vision, such as increasing the number of LA babies that are screened for developmental delays, improving the availability of voluntary home visiting programs for families that need them, providing support for young children who are dual language learners, addressing maternal mental health, and continuing to educate and engage our network to see the vision fully realized.