California Awards $30.5 Million for Kids’ Mental Health, and Support for Parents and Family Caregivers

SACRAMENTO – As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s $4.7 billion Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health, California today awarded $30.5 million to 63 groups to support youth mental health through community and evidence-based practices, supporting parents, grandparents, and other family caregivers.

“California is making unprecedented investments to help kids dealing with mental health challenges,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re meeting kids, parents, and families where they are to deliver critical mental health support – helping them grow up healthier and stronger by connecting them with key resources in their communities.”

“Today’s grant awards are the Governor’s youth mental health investments in action,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “We’re taking a holistic, community-centric, whole family approach to addressing youth mental health– recognizing that to meet California kids where they are at and provide them support when they need it means reaching their parents and caregivers with the best in class mental health tools, resources, and programs.”

AWARD DETAILS: Today’s $30.5 million in grants were awarded by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to 63 groups. The evidence-based practice (EBP) and community-defined evidence practice (CDEP) models funded include: Positive Parenting Practices, Incredible Years, Healthy Steps (Medi-Cal Dyadic Services Benefit), Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Effective Black Parenting Program, Positive Indian Parenting, and a variety of other community-defined parenting support programs.

“The CYBHI seeks to reimagine the systems that support behavioral health for California’s children, youth, and their families, especially for those most at risk,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass. “DHCS is awarding grants to organizations seeking to strengthen families and improve youth behavioral health based on robust evidence for effectiveness for children and families, impact on racial equity, and sustainability.”

WHY THIS MATTERS: By scaling successful models throughout the state, DHCS aims to improve access to critical behavioral health interventions, including those focused on prevention, early intervention, and resiliency/recovery, for children and youth. There is a specific focus on children and youth from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities.

HOW WE GOT HERE: Over the past 18 months, DHCS engaged with more than 1,000 unique and diverse stakeholders and key implementation partners across California, including youth, families (including caregivers), local educational agencies and educators, health care providers and payers, behavioral health experts, and community-based organizations. DHCS prioritized hearing from children, youth, and families, with more than 300-plus children and youth engaged via focus groups, surveys, and regular advisory body meetings.

Through an extensive community engagement process, DHCS selected a limited number of EBPs and CDEPs to consider for scaling throughout the state, subject to further refinement based on an assessment of sustainable financing mechanisms, including Medi-Cal and commercial coverage and/or other funding streams. DHCS published its grant strategy, which details the goals of the grant program across six distinct rounds of funding.

BIGGER PICTURE: These awards were funded through the CYBHI, a $4.7 billion investment in behavioral health and a key component of Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health. They focused on equity, centering efforts around children and youth voices, strengths, needs, priorities, and experiences, especially for those most at risk; driving transformative systems change; and using ongoing learning as the basis for change and improvement in outcomes for children and youth. CYBHI is a major element of the Governor’s transformation of California’s mental health system – including the new ballot measure proposed for March 2024 with a bond to build housing with accountability (AB 531, Irwin) and reforms to the Mental Health Services Act to deliver services with results (SB 326, Eggman).

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