History & Impact

The California Children’s Trust formed in 2018 through an inclusive planning process driven by the guidance and support of mental health advocates, leaders in racial equity, and those with lived experience. Within a year, over 400 organizations and individuals agreed to a set of core principles to become part of the CCT coalition.

CCT’s Foundation and Belief Statement, and guiding principles, are built on the experience and wisdom of Dr. Rhea Boyd, Dr. Macheo Payne, Cat Brooks, and representatives from Resilient Wellness, RYSE Youth Center, and Young Women’s Freedom Center, among others. These leaders helped design CCT’s policy agenda to reimagine Medi-Cal as a tool for anti-racism, redefine mental health as a support for healthy development, and reorient our child-serving systems towards social justice, not simply pathology.

This timeline captures key milestones over CCT’s relatively short history of becoming a leading voice and resource for policymakers, advocates and funders across child-serving systems. Behind this work, and more difficult to reflect, are the thousands of presentations and conversations with a growing network of partners, youth, and national thought-leaders, that have fueled this once-in-a-generation movement to reimagine children’s mental health.


January The Zellerbach Family Foundation (ZFF), based on a convening of stakeholders, developed recommendations for philanthropy to address the children’s mental health crisis

July With initial funding from ZFF, the California Children’s Trust is formed as a coalition-led policy advocacy initiative focused on reimagining children’s mental and behavioral health

September CCT convenes partners and stakeholders to develop the Foundation and Belief Statement, the guiding document for CCT’s work

October CCT launches

November Genentech becomes a funding partner through their Resilience Effect philanthropic initiative

November Reimagining Child Well-Being - issue brief to frame the history, crisis and proposed path forward to reimagine children’s mental and behavioral health


September Whole Family Wellness in Early Childhood - issue brief outlining a new way to deliver and fund a system of care focused on family wellness, infants and toddlers

October Understanding CalAIM - comprehensive response to the CalAIM proposal

October Our Children Our Families becomes a funding partner, and with Blaze Consulting and CCT, helps to create and launch the Blaze Forward Fellows Program

December Beyond the Bench conference features a briefing by CCT for members of the judiciary, and presents county data snapshots

December CalAIM proposal responses to DHCS


January Framework for Solution announced - a three-pronged approach to transform children’s mental and behavioral health systems, centered on Equity and Justice.

January Launched partnership with California Coalition for Youth (CCY) to lift up youth voice and lived experience

February Medi-Cal for Students work group launches, with CCT in advisory role

March Heising-Simons Foundation becomes a funding partner to help enhance organizational capacity and impact

April Stabilize and Sustain Youth Behavioral Health During COVID-19 - issue brief in response to COVID-19, with specific actions to ensure mental and behavioral health support to youth during the pandemic

May Babies Don’t Go To The Doctor By Themselves - CCT, UCSF/General Hospital, and Trauma Center/Children’s Health Center launch a dyadic model one-year pilot project

June COVID-19 and Demands for Racial Justice - public statement advocating to continue state work on key components of the CalAIM proposal, which was put on pause due to COVID-19

June DHCS approves Family Therapy Benefit marking a significant win toward removing diagnosis as a barrier to services

August Practical Guide for Financing Social, Emotional and Mental Health in Schools released - comprehensive guide to help education leaders access millions of dollars of Medi-Cal funding to support student mental health in schools

October Public comment from CCT and youth advocates on the first-in-17 years re-procurement process for the Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan

October CCY releases survey results on the Needs and Voices of Vulnerable Youth and the Impact of COVID 19

December Coverage of Services to Promote Children’s Mental Health - issue brief to raise national awareness on the failures of Medicaid insurance plans

December Lisa Stone Pritzker (LSP) Family Foundation becomes a funding partner as part of their Children’s & Women’s Health & Education initiative


January Meeting the Moment: Understanding EPSDT & Improving Implementation - issue brief with recommendations for how California can fulfill its Medi‑Cal entitlement obligation to children and youth

January No Going Back - issue brief with recommendations to expand on promising telemental health practices

February Webinar: Meeting the Moment

March Webinar: Navigating Youth Mental Health Services in Medi-Cal Managed Care and Schools

April CCT testifies at Little Hoover Commission Hearing: COVID-19 and Children’s Mental Health

April Youth Snapshot - youth share lived experiences and offer recommendations for integrating technology into mental health service delivery

May CCTDr. Rhea Boyd, and youth advocates submit CalAIM 1915(b) waiver proposal responses to DHCS

June CCT’s distillation of the $4 billion May Revise Proposal + Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (YBHI) timeline and Trailer Bill Language

July CCT in collaboration with youth advocates, child-serving organizations and education partners provide input on the draft Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan Request for Proposal (RFP)

August Youth Mental Health Crisis Lines - issue brief that explains how crisis lines fit in the complex youth mental health landscape

September Care Coordination for Children in Medi-Cal - issue brief with recommendations for working with MCPs to improve care coordination for children in Medi-Cal

November School Mental Health 101: A Primer for Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans - primer to facilitate partnerships between MCPs and schools to increase youth mental health services


January Webinar: School Mental Health 101: A Primer for Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans

February Youth Supporting Youth: Expanding Peer-to-Peer Programs in Schools - issue brief providing details for expanding school-based peer-to-peer programs to youth ages 14 – 17 including examples of current promising programs

February Nghia Do and Sriya Chilla Present at the California State Assembly Joint Hearing - CCT youth mental health advocates provide expert commentary on the youth mental health crisis and the need for more relevant and accessible school-based supports like peer-to-peer

March Q&A with Nancy Netherland, Director of Parent and Caregiver Engagement - With significant experience navigating the complexities of Medi-Cal, Nancy brings insights on how caregivers can advocate for a reimagined youth mental health system

April Aria Rani Sindledecker Wins National C-SPAN StudentCam documentary Competition - CCT youth mental health advocate takes first place, middle school category, for her documentary about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

April Youth Advisory Board Launches - The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) replaces the founding board and guides and grounds our work with the voice and experience of young people, and empowers youth leaders to continue taking action for youth mental health reform after our sunset in December 2024

July CARING FOR KIDS THE RIGHT WAY: Key Components of Children’s Care Coordination - this report presents successful children’s care coordination models and examples of care coordination in action and is part of the Equity Through Engagement collaboration with The Children’s Partnership and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequity

August Enhanced Care Management: OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE - this issue brief details how to make Enhanced Care Management work for children despite the fundamental misalignment of meeting children’s needs in a distributed risk model of care

September REIMAGINING MEDI-CAL: Collaborating with Families and Communities to Advance Child Health Equity - this final report of the Equity Through Engagement collaboration provides a roadmap for how MCPs can (and must) invest more in the health care of children and youth

September Proposal for an Early Childhood Health Services Initiative in California: An Opportunity to Expand Preventive Supports for Young Children - proposal to secure federal matching funds to expand critical community based mental health services for young children and their families

October Webinar Series: The Path to Funding Racially Just, Relationship Centered Schools - in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE) this 4-part series shares and discusses practical and immediate steps for using Medi-Cal as a tool for building connected and racially just schools

October Black Youth Mental Health: Will Our Kids Be Alright? - Op-ed by Dr. Rhea Boyd, Pediatrician and CCT’s Senior Advisor of Strategy & Equity, and Jade Davis, Youth Advisory Board member

October Newsletter: Spotlight on School Mental Health Success - we highlight promising school-based youth mental health programs that are creatively blending and braiding funds and breaking down implementation silos