CSU Northrige -- December 8, 2003
Receives Grant to Assess Health, School Readiness of LA County Children
Cal State Northridge Chicano studies professor Juana Mora is teaming up with
a researcher from a private, nonprofit management group to assess the health and
school readiness of children from birth to five years of age in Los Angeles
Mora and Maura Harrington of Los Angeles-based Lodestar Management/Research Inc.
have received a $250,000 two-year grant from the First 5 LA Commission for five
projects to train and assist community-based organizations in collecting data on
children in the county.
"It is an exciting opportunity," Mora said. "There are huge gaps in the databases
of the state and county regarding the health and school readiness of ethnic
children in Los Angeles County. The purpose of our project is to help these local
organizations collect the data and then compare it to the state and county
information. Once the community groups have accurate data, they can use the
findings to advocate to get whatever is needed in their areas."
Mora said what makes their effort unusual is that she and Harrington will help
community-based organizations work with the residents in their communities by
identifying what questions need to be asked to get to the root of the problems
in their areas, and then getting the residents involved in gathering the data.
She said it is called participatory research.
"One of the reasons you bring in the community is that we believe that you get
better data if the community is involved," said Mora, author of the book Latino
Social Policy: A Participatory Research Model.
Mora and Harrington will be working with:
Given the short period of time to gather all the data in each project, Mora said
she will be incorporating the talents of Northridge students to help her and the
community groups get the information they need.
- Healthy Homes Collaborative in East Los Angeles to look at poor housing
conditions, including lead poisoning, and their impact on the health of
children in the area.
- United American Indian Involvement to assess the mental health needs of
American Indian children in Los Angeles County.
- Community Coalition in South Los Angeles to collect data on the impact of
imprisoned parents on the school readiness and health of young children.
- Communities for a Better Environment in Harrington Park to conduct a general survey on the health disparities of children in that part of Los Angeles County.
- Special Services for Groups in Long Beach to assess the impact of linguistic isolation on the children of Cambodian and Laotian immigrants.
"Many of our students are bilingual and have skills that can help us connect
with community members in each of these projects," she said.
The First 5 LA Commission was created following voters' approval of Prop. 10 in
1998. Proposition 10 mandated a 50 cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund
education, health, child care and other programs to promote early childhood
development for expectant parents and children up to age five.
Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,