Pathways LA is a non-profit organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality, developmentally appropriate, educationally stimulating child care. Founded in 1978 by educator and activist Bea Gold, Pathways LA was an early leader in promoting child care programs that are inclusive of children with special needs. Today, the founding principles guide our work as we promote strengths-based education and best practices for child development by assisting families, supporting child care providers, caring for children, and advocating for the community.
Pathways LA has a staff of more than 60 that reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity in our community. We are proud to offer our services in English, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, Chinese and Korean and are continually striving to make our staff and our resources more accessible and useful.
Pathways LA strengthens low-income and vulnerable working families, promotes high quality early care and education services for children of all abilities, develops knowledgeable early care providers, and promotes economically resilient communities.
All families will have access to high quality inclusive early care and education services regardless of income, and children of all abilities will have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Pathways LA exists so no family, regardless of income or social status, is forced to go without high quality child care and early education opportunities for their children. We aim to achieve this through the following:
1. Increase the impact of Pathways LA services and programs on child and family outcomes, especially for those most vulnerable
2. Improve the effectiveness of provider skills training efforts
3. Increase school readiness best practices in early care and education programs serving low income families in Pathways LA service area
Founded as the Children, Youth, and Family Services (CYFS) agency by educator and activist Bea Gold, Pathways LA was one of the first private non-profit organizations to receive public funding in support of programs for children with disabilities and special needs.
From its early years as CYFS, Pathways LA’s mission has been guided by a philosophy reflecting commitments to full inclusion of children’s special needs in early care and education programs, to strengths-based approaches, to responding to family and community needs, and to continuous quality improvement and demonstrating model programs. From a small staff of 9 individuals in 1978 to more than 60 dedicated staff at Pathways LA today, these principles have guided our work for four decades.
In 1980 Pathways LA launched the Handicapped Children’s Consultant Project, known as the Resource & Action Project, which provided technical assistance to Head Start and other early care programs to improve services for children with handicapping conditions and their families.
Pathways LA is established as one of ten Child Care Resource & Referral agencies in Los Angeles County, helping working mothers and dual wage earners locate high quality inclusive child care programs, and training the child care work force to accommodate changing community and family needs.
Pathways LA opens the West Hollywood Preschool Program in partnership with the City of West Hollywood and the Los Angeles County Office of Education. This initiative was in response to the growing need of low income, working families to access affordable, high quality inclusive child care and preschool education services in the West Hollywood community.
The CAL-Works program is enacted and Pathways LA launches a program geared towards helping the families receiving public assistance place their children in high quality child care programs. The goal is for parents to achieve economic independence through work, job training, and school attendance.
The year we officially became Pathways LA. Thanks to a dedicated and involved Board of Directors, Pathways LA becomes the leading agency for a multi-year, county-wide initiative that would increase the capacity of child care providers to meet the needs of children with disabilities and special needs in early care and education programs.
Entitled SNAP – The Special Needs Advisory Project – this new initiative developed special needs training materials for child care providers and enabled parents to locate and maintain developmentally appropriate child care placements that could adequately meet their children’s special needs.
As a result of our direct service programs, payment assistance programs, referral and locator services, and provider training activities, Pathways LA continues to live its mission of helping families access high quality inclusive child care services. With a staff of more than 60 individuals who reflect the linguistic and cultural composition of the families we serve, Pathways LA assists thousands of families and children every year in our service area, and continues to support and train more than 950 child care providers. The principles that guided the creation of Pathways LA 40 years ago – inclusion of children with special needs, strengths-based family assistance, and model programs and best practices in early care and education – continue to guide us in implementing the mission and anticipating future needs.
Project Manager, CIT Group, Inc.
Board Vice President
Partner, MVZ & Associates, Inc.
Project Manager, Kaiser Permanente
Director of Investments, Northrop Grumman
City of Los Angeles
Thomas M. Briones-Soupcoff
City National Bank, Senior Business Banking Relationship Manager
Director, L.A. Compact, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Technology Sales Manager, Oracle
Interim Executive Director
For over 20 years, Jessie Salazar has been a mainstay at Pathways LA. Most recently serving as Director of Programs, Jessie spearheaded improvements to Pathways LA’s operational functions and technological infrastructure.
Director of Child Care Subsidy
Araceli joined Pathways LA in 1999 as a Specialist in our Resource and Referral Department, helping parents locate and access quality child care. In her current Director capacity, Araceli oversees all three of Pathways LA’s subsidy departments.
Director of Family and Provider Enrichment Services
Sally Valenzuela has been with Pathways LA since 1998 and has more than twenty years of experience in child development and early care and education. She works closely with our Deputy Executive Director to develop, manage and administer all aspects of Pathways LA’s programs.