Policy Resource

Cross-Sector Core Competencies for the Prenatal Through Age Five Field

Professional Development resource information on state policies and initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families

At the community level, Los Angeles County is making great strides in the area of cross-sector competencies for the infant“toddler workforce. First 5 LA partnered with the ZERO TO THREE Western Office (ZTT) to facilitate the Prenatal through Three Workforce Development (P-3 WFD) Project. The P-3 WFD Project began with the formation of a workgroup of community experts in five sectors that comprise the P-3 workforce (early care and education, early identification and intervention, infant and early childhood mental health, physical health, and social services/child welfare). Through an exhaustive literature review of existing competencies, the workgroup identified sector-specific competencies and used them to inform the development of the P-3 cross-sector core competencies for the multidisciplinary workforce in Los Angeles County.

The Competencies are organized into eight domains deemed essential for Los Angeles prenatal through age three (P-3) professionals working with young children and their families: early childhood development; family-centered practice; relationship-based practice; health and developmental protective risk factors; cultural and linguistic responsiveness; leadership; professional and ethical practices; and service planning, coordination and collaboration.

Each domain is subdivided into sections describing the core knowledge (what P-3 service providers should know), skills (what P-3 service providers should be able to do), and attitudes (how P-3 service providers should approach their work). The competency statements are written as observable behaviors and, where possible, measurable actions. Through continued support of First 5 LA, the P-3 WFD Project was broadened to reflect the need for cross-sector workforce development for the P-5 workforce. This involved expanding the P-3 cross-sector core competencies to encompass competencies needed for working with children ages 3-5 and their families. This work continues to be supported by a broad partnership of leaders and administrators from the fields of early care and education, early intervention, child welfare/social services, physical health, and mental health throughout LA County.

In addition, ZTT has developed online training and communities of practice. ZTT is forging new relationships with service providers, and creating county and state policy recommendations to better foster cross-sector partnerships. The P-5 Cross-Sector Core Competencies Training is designed to bring these competencies directly to professionals serving the P-5 population, in order enhance capacity for coordinated, collaborative service delivery. The P-5 Core Competencies Training include: Eight advanced-level online lessons Interaction, reflection, and peer feedback through the Discussion Forum Community of Practice sessions to help support the implementation of new knowledge, skills, and strategies, and The opportunity to extend learning through optional fieldwork suggested within each lesson.

This description of Californias work is highlighted in ZERO TO THREE’s publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies. Read the full brief at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy .

For more information on cross-sector workforce development and training, see http://www.first5la.org/index.php?r=site/tag&id=680 and http://info.p5competencies.org/

Updated February 2016

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