Partners for Children South L.A.
Liza Bray remembers a mother and child walking into a Partners for Children South L.A. (PCSLA) partner agency clinic desperate for help. The mother was seeking medical care for high blood pressure due to stress caused by being in a violent relationship. On top of everything, she had just received an eviction notice, and she and her three-year-old child had nowhere to go.
“So, what is that doctor supposed to do?” Bray, executive director of the organization asks rhetorically. “Well through our System of Care, with a few clicks of a button, that doctor can refer the patient to us.”
Partners for Children South L.A. exists for these exact moments. The nonprofit was able to help that mother not only with her medical needs, but also assist with getting domestic violence support services and emergency housing.
“That doctor doesn’t have to figure out what to do, or who to call,” Bray says. “He now has vetted organizations that he can refer that mom to and know she’s going to be well taken care of. And we go into action, and we take care of mom. It’s coordinated care.”
In 2009, the recently deceased, legendary local philanthropist Rich Atlas brought seven organizations providing critical services in South L.A. together, forming Partners for Children South L.A., a collaborative designed to improve access to high-quality healthcare, early education and family supports for the youngest and most vulnerable children in South Los Angeles. To do this, Partners for Children South L.A. and its partner agencies identify children ages birth to five and their families to participate in the Early Childhood System of Care, where partner agencies coordinate service delivery to provide high quality, holistic, and reliable care for families. The System of Care includes intake, triage, assessment, referral, care plans, and case management, as well as tracking and evaluation.
The nonprofit has grown from working with seven partner agencies to 38 today and has served over 13,000 individuals. It’s in the process of adding two more partner organizations to its roster.
South L.A. is one of the most underserved communities in the region, where redlining, a legacy of racism, and manufacturing decline has led to stark economic disparity, which particularly impacts young children. These racial divides, however, are apparent throughout Los Angeles County. Three times as many African American infants die within their first year compared to white babies, and racial discrimination has been found to impact both the mental and physical health of young children, according to two studies by the Center for Health Equity and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
The partner agencies provide services ranging from childcare services to parenting classes and early intervention services to employment assistance and mental health services to housing, and so much more, as well as cross-agency care coordination.
“If a parent walks in the door and requests a service that we don’t have, our job that night is to find a reputable organization to invite into our network to be able to offer that service moving forward – immediate, quality, comprehensive, coordinated care is our goal,” Bray says.
Through January 15, 2022, the first $1,500 donated will be matched thanks to the Giving List’s novel matching program.
A Community Hub
Research shows if you can reach kids during those most impressionable years, you are able to set them on a path toward being productive citizens, which is why Partners for Children South L.A never turns a family away.
To do so, the nonprofit hopes to raise $250,000 to hire two new staff members and furnish its new South L.A. offices to become a hub for the community and technically outfitted with the adequate resources to serve the neighborhood.
The organization’s ultimate goal is to turn its network into a replicable model to serve other high-risk communities in addition to South LA.
“This is taking that leap, ramping up the organization to be properly staffed so we can start thinking about replication, so we can take this effort throughout L.A. County to serve even more children and families in need,” says Executive Director Liza Bray.
The mission of Partners for Children South L.A. is to improve access to high-quality healthcare, early education and family supports for the youngest and most vulnerable children in South Los Angeles.
Executive Director: Liza Bray
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Looking back and speaking of PCSLA, Julia offers this bit of insight for others who might find themselves in seemingly insurmountable situations: “Always remember, there is help,” she says. “And there are people out there who want to help you. When things go bad, it’s natural to feel frightened and alone. But I’m here to tell you — you are not alone.
The Atlas Family Foundation
The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation
The Change Reaction
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
The Eisner Foundation
Jewish Community Foundation
of Los Angeles
WM Keck Foundation
Los Angeles County Department
of Mental Health
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
The Reissa Foundation
The Rose Hills Foundation
Social Venture Partners
The Specialty Family Foundation
The UniHealth Foundation
The Weingart Foundation