Advocacy and Legislative Updates

This is an exciting time in California for children’s mental health initiatives. Governor Newsom’s 2019-2020 budget proposal has allocated $1.8 billion for an array of programs designed to boost the state’s early education and child-care programs.  Governor Newsom’s administration has also proposed $45 million for screenings to identify adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among children and adults on Medi-Cal. CALACAP hopes to leverage this focus by supporting legislation that promotes school-based mental health and prevention programs, as well as, early mental health screenings.

In an effort to spread the word on the importance of early childhood mental health and choosing legislation that best supports this cause, we have compiled a series of white papers that we hope you will find useful in learning more about the subject and helping to spread the word to others. Only by joining forces can we have the strongest voice in Sacramento to evoke positive change for the sake of our children.

CLICK HERE for PDF copies of our white paper series.

Please feel free to circulate the white papers to anyone who is interested in learning more about children's mental health and the legislative needs to help it thrive.

Spring Advocacy Day Canceled

CALACAP has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 Spring Advocacy Day, which was scheduled for May 5th, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic for the health and saftey of everyone involved. Even if the stay-at-home order is lifted, we do not anticipate the favor of large gatherings at the State Capitol any time soon and the legislative calendar will likely be affected. 

We will work on alternate ways to engage members in advocacy on bills of interest to our field, such as calls to action and template letters to the legislators. 

Please visit our Advocacy Page to stay updated.

Thank you for your understanding and we hope to host our Fall Advocacy Collaboration Conference as normal and will keep you posted. 

This year’s Report Card grades California on 31 key children’s issues – and includes new sections on Family Supports, Adolescents & Transition Age Youth and Connected Cradle-to-Career. It also shines a spotlight on the impact racism, poverty and immigration threats have on our kids. 
Despite recent progress, this year’s grades show the urgent need to create large-scale improvements to ensure every child has the quality supports and services they need to reach their full potential. As a state, California is a leader in so many areas, like protecting vulnerable communities from harmful federal policies, ensuring equal rights for all Californians and staying firm on environmental standards, but on too many issues affecting kids we rank near the bottom of the country. 

There are a few bright spots, like children’s health insurance (A) and paid family leave (B-), showing that California can make large-scale improvements for children and families when our state’s leaders put kids first and focus on a particular goal, and we commend these efforts. But, in most areas, from mental health (D) and child care (D+) to caring professionals in schools (F), we must do much better. 

Each section within the Report Card contains policy recommendations that together constitute a Pro-Kid whole-child agenda. Now is the time for California to be a leader on kids’ issues and ensure that every child in our state has access to the full range of quality supports that they need to grow up healthy, learn and succeed.

Please take a look, and share the Report Card with your colleagues and community. 

Senator Portantino Recognized for Adolescent Health Efforts Presented with Children’s Hero Award

Marina Del Rey, California – State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) was recently honored by the California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CALACAP) as the 2019 Children’s Hero Award recipient.  CALACAP recognized the Senator at its recent conference in Marina Del Rey for his dedication to youth mental health.  Senator Portantino has long made mental health issues a key component of his legislative agenda.  In particular, this year Senator Portantino held two mental health first aide workshops in his district. View full press release HERE

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To see a matrix of bills supported, opposed or being watched by CALACAP click HERE

Last updated January 20, 2020

Want to advocate for children's mental health
at the State Capitol? 

Click HERE for some Tips & Tricks

In Oakland, Governor Gavin Newsom Announces the Formation of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force

Governor also names Dr. Tom Insel as key advisor to help develop
strategies around mental health issues

View full press release HERE

CALACAP's Children's Mental Health Spring Advocacy Day Was a Great Success!

On Monday, April 29, 2019 CALACAP, Children Now, and NAMI California co-hosted an advocacy day for children's mental health in Sacramento, where 40+ attendees held meetings with legislators focusing on the following priority bills (click on the bill number for full fact sheet):

AB 1443 (Maienschein): Mental health: technical assistance centers.

• This bill would require the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission,
subject to available funding, to establish one or more technical assistance centers to support
counties in addressing mental health issues that are of statewide concern.

SB 11 (Beall): Health care coverage: mental health parity.

• This bill would require a health care service plan and a health insurer to submit an annual report
to the Department of Managed Health Care or the Department of Insurance certifying
compliance with state and federal mental health parity laws. The bill would require the
departments to review the reports submitted by health care service plans to ensure compliance
with state and federal mental health parity laws, and would require the departments to make
the reports and the results of the reviews available upon request and to post the reports and
the results of the reviews on the departments’ Internet Web site.

SB 174 (Leyva): Early childhood education: reimbursement rates.

• This bill would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to implement a reimbursement
system plan that establishes reasonable standards and assigned reimbursement rates that
would vary with additional factors, including a quality adjustment factor to address the cost of
staffing ratios, as provided. The bill would require the reimbursement system plan, including
methodology, standards, county rate targets as provided, and the total statewide funding
amount necessary to reach annual rate targets for all agencies to be annually submitted to the
Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The bill would require the plan to include a formula for
annually adjusting reimbursement rates, as provided.

The group was fortunate to hear from Senator Jim Beall, pictured below speaking to our advocates.

Below, advocates for children's mental health prep for their legislative meetings.

Thank you to our Spring Advocacy Day partners, Children Now and NAMI California. Click on their logo below to visit their websites. 

State Budget Proposals for Children's Health and Mental Health

• Managed Care Behavioral Health Integration. Invests $360 million ($180 million Proposition 56 funds (2016 tobacco tax) to encourage Medi-Cal managed care providers to meet goals in critical areas such as behavioral health integration.

• Whole Person Care Pilot Program. Provides $100 million for the Whole Person Care Pilot
Program for supportive housing and the coordination of health, behavioral health and social
services for people with mental illness.

• Early Developmental Screenings. Includes $60 million ($30 million Federal Funds, $30 million Proposition 56 funds) for early developmental screenings for children in Medi-Cal

• Adverse Childhood Experiences Screening. Includes $45 million ($23 million Proposition 56
funds) for Adverse Childhood Experiences screenings for children and adults in Medi-Cal,
beginning no sooner that January 1, 2020. Requires the use of an existing screening tool for
adults and the development of a new screening tool for children.

• Workforce Development. The Office of Statewide Planning and Development (OSHPD) budget includes $50 million from the general fund with the anticipation of potential additional private contributions from universities, health clinics and philanthropic organizations, for mental health workforce development and training programs.

• Early Psychosis Interventions. The Budget includes $25 million one-time general fund for early psychosis research and treatment. These will be competitive grants for counties, academic institutions and others.

• UC Student Mental Health. The Budget includes $5 million in ongoing general fund allocation for University of California student mental health treatment to meet recommended staffing ratios.

• Covered California Funding and Eligibility. Increases and expands subsidies to individuals and families insured through Covered California, by increasing subsidies for people between 250 to 400 percent of the federal poverty level and by adding subsidies for people whose income falls between 400 and 600 percent of the federal poverty level. Proposes the adoption of a California individual mandate, with penalties for lack of coverage, the revenue from which will cover the subsidies.

• State Surgeon General. Establishes a California Surgeon General to provide leadership in
addressing root causes of serious health conditions, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences and the social determinants of health.

• Moving Division of Juvenile Justice. The Governor’s Budget proposes to move youth
correctional facilities from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to a new department under the Health and Human Services Agency with a focus on rehabilitative

• Emergency Shelters. The 2019-20 budget builds upon recent legislative and ballot efforts by
prioritizing funding for jurisdictions to tackle homelessness. The budget includes $500 million
one-time general fund allocations to build emergency shelters, navigation centers or supportive housing. There are also some longer-term programs included from the past few years.

• Regional Collaborations. $300 million will be allocated to jurisdictions that establish regional
plans. The Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency will distribute $200 million to
Continuums of Care and $100 million to the eleven most populous cities. Plans must include
regional coordination between counties and cities. An additional $200 million will be made
available to jurisdictions that show progress towards meeting goals.

• Accelerate No Place Like Home (NPLH) Allocations. In 2018, voters approved Proposition 2,
enacting NLPH again. The Governor’s budget proposes accelerating the granting of NPLH
awards, which will generate $2 billion in new funding to help get people who are living homeless with serious mental health illness off the streets and into long-term housing and recovery.

To contact CALACAP for more information, please email