Photograph of Anaheim, CA from the sky with freeways and buildings in the background.

Anaheim, CA: First 5 Orange County began collecting children’s well-being data in Anaheim using the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in 2009. As part of their investment, the city of Anaheim was chosen to dedicate additional resources based on the EDI results. First 5 found a ready audience in a coalition of community- based organizations, school districts, businesses and other partners that had a commitment toward ensuring the well-being of young children. This group, Network Anaheim, was founded in 2014. 

As part of their goal to engage partners in creating data-driven, early childhood development policies, Network Anaheim and local families launched the Resident Leadership Academy in 2021. There, resident facilitators led residents to develop their leadership skills. As part of this, residents explored the city’s EDI data and discussed the root causes of these results.

Participants were motivated by EDI data that revealed that many children were not meeting developmental expectations in the physical health and well-being domain, and more specifically, that children were behind in their gross motor skills development. Residents identified community conditions such as unsafe streets and crowded living conditions that were preventing families from having the space to enable their children to have ideal opportunities to develop physically. They saw beyond the family locus and instead thought about the systems that could be improved to enable families and children to thrive.

In their conversations, residents identified two possible changes to pursue and advocate for: 1) Safe routes to school – “Camino Seguros” and 2) Rent control – “Control de Renta en al Ciudad de Anaheim.” Network Anaheim uplifted residents’ voices and offered themselves as connectors to policymakers such as municipal and district leadership to convey their concerns and proposed solutions.

“What makes a difference is we don’t tell families what trainings they should have. Instead, we let residents tell us what they want. The more that they know, they often want to go deeper. We meet them where they are.... We had to put our own agenda aside.”

- Wendy Dallin, Network Anaheim

Their collective work paid off - on October 19, 2022, the community received support from the Anaheim Elementary School District Superintendent to fund a crossing guard at a school site. A city traffic engineer committed to collect 3 days of data on the traffic at areas of concern, which resulted in proposed improvements to the Walnut and Santa Ana intersections. Residents also appeared at a city council meeting to advocate for rent control.

Photograph of residents in Anaheim, CA advocating for Rent Control using EDI data.

About Examples from the Field

Examples from the Field is a series of stories and case studies from communities that partner with the Data Informed Futures team that explores how communities use population-level measures on children’s well-being throughout the life course. This series of case studies is featured in our brief, Equity from the Start.

Explore the full Equity from the Start Brief

About Data Informed Futures

An initiative of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities, Data Informed Futures (previously TECCS) offers unique, neighborhood-level data and mapping – throughout the course of a child’s life – that reveal geographic patterns of disparity and resilience. Since 2012, Data Informed Futures has helped over 90 different local communities in more than 18 states.

Our new, integrated suite of linked data tools provides a comprehensive picture and understanding of children’s development and well-being from pre-K through middle school. This data, along with our support and coaching, enable community leaders and partners to conceive, “sell” and implement meaningful changes that improve children’s health and well-being. To learn more about our work and impact, please visit

Learn more about Data Informed Futures