Advancing Children's Mental and Behavioral Health Reform

Why We Need to Act Now

The California Children’s Trust was established to transform the administration, delivery and financing of our child-serving systems to ensure that they are equity-driven and accountable for improved child health outcomes. We seek to promote and facilitate an emerging statewide consensus on the need for change, and an unprecedented commitment to collective action to create integrated and accountable child-serving systems that will transform outcomes for children, youth, and families.

  1. Californians agree on the need for early, proactive, and clinically effective supports for children’s developmental and behavioral health.
  2. There are promising trauma-informed practices that address health equity and can support the transformation of child-serving systems.
  3. We can improve administration and financing to leverage the $2.5 billion of unspent county and state mental health funds as a powerful driver of change.

Issue Briefs

Promoting and facilitating a statewide consensus around the transformation of children’s mental health requires thoughtful policy discussion. Our goal is to present data, analysis and perspectives in clear, concise terms so everyone can engage in and advance the conversation.

February 2023

Title: CONNECTING CHILDREN TO THE CARE THEY NEED: Ending the Same-Day Exclusion Policy

Key Points: Same-day exclusion creates a significant barrier to preventive and early mental health interventions by prohibiting Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and rural health centers from billing Medi-Cal for primary care and behavioral health services delivered on the same calendar day. The same-day exclusion policy is contrary to long-standing federal policy and recent encouragement by CMS that states should end such exclusions.

August 2022

Title: Enhanced Care Management: Opportunity for Change

Key Points: ECM is a managed care benefit that addresses the clinical and non-clinical needs of high-need individuals through the coordination of services and comprehensive care management. The ECM will launch in July 2023 for youth populations with high needs where social and emotional conditions have a profound impact on their healthy development. This brief details what must be incorporated into ECM in order to improve outcomes for youth and families with high needs.

May 2020

Title: Babies Don’t Go to the Doctor By Themselves: Innovating a Dyadic Behavioral Health Payment Model to Serve the Youngest Primary Care Patients and Their Families

Key Points: A collaboration between California Children’s Trust and the UCSF/Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center/Children’s Health Center to propose a one-year pilot project to demonstrate the clinical benefit and impact of aligning reimbursement for mild to moderate mental health services with dyadic models.

September 2019

Title: Whole-Family Wellness for Early Childhood: A New Model for Medi-Cal Delivery and Financing

Key Points: Co-developed by CCT and the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy, this brief describes our vision for a new approach for California to conceptualize, deliver, and fund a system of care—grounded in family wellness—for Medi-Cal eligible infants and toddlers.

November 2018

Title: The California Children’s Trust Initiative: Reimagining Child Well-Being

Key points: This brief describes the history of California’s mental health policies and financing that have impacted children over the last several decades, and presents a new evolution and possibilities for child well-being.