If this is a mental health-related emergency, please call 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. For other emergencies, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.


Advocacy & Thought Leadership

Advocating for a better life for all

How Our Efforts in Policy Making Benefit Those We Serve

“As a recognized visionary leader in the sector, ҳ understands how public policy intersects with practice. As part of our ongoing commitment to high quality care and practice, ҳ believes it’s our responsibility to advocate, in collaboration with partners and those with lived experience, with policy makers so that they grasp the full implications of their decisions.”

Wendy Wang, ҳ Chief Public Policy & Advocacy Officer

Engaging with elected officials and school representatives on behalf of those we serve is crucial to our mission. By communicating with local, state, and federal government agency leaders, serving on committees, and taking leadership positions in advocating for behavioral healthcare access, ҳ has become a leading organization that provides critical services and assistance for children, young adults, and adults.

As valued providers to those we serve and trusted partners in our local communities, we understand our influence and responsibility. That’s why we make our voices heard at various decision-making forums where bills, regulations, and programs are reviewed. Through advocacy, ҳ is helping shape policies that allow all nonprofit providers to serve their consumers and communities better.

Where Our Advocacy Efforts are Focused

Behavioral Health
  • Under California’s initiative to transform Medi-Cal, we advocate to the state of California and local counties for improved reimbursement rates and more streamlined documentation to fully pay for services provided across all settings (schools, community, offices) that are most appropriate to meet the needs of consumers.
  • ҳ champions and advocates for additional, equitable investments in the continuum of care related to behavioral health and child welfare.
  • As a valued service provider in two counties’ 9-8-8 network, ҳ advocates to the counties and CA Department of Health Care Services for more appropriate reimbursement rates for mobile crisis response teams, and more streamlined integration across the entire 9-8-8 system.
Early Learning & Education (K-12)
  • We provide behavioral health services on 33 L.A. County school campuses. As California rolls out the new Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative's All Payer Fee Schedule for School Linked Behavioral Health Services and Wellness Coaches, we are advocating to the state government to ensure the perspectives and feedback of existing school-based providers are taken into consideration.
  • As local education agencies roll out the California Partnership (CCSP) Program, ҳ advocates that services and support provided by community-based providers be considered and included.
Child Welfare
  • Address obstacles to timely implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in CA, which promotes family stability through preventative services. Advocate for funding for Hi-Fidelity Wraparound Programs and Family Resource Centers, important programs in the continuum of care for foster youth.
  • Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) is a CA initiative aimed at improving child welfare outcomes by shifting from group homes to family-based care. Until permanent CCR rates are implemented, we advocate for interim funding to sustain Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs and Foster Family Agencies.
  • As a leading service provider, we engage in local and statewide discussions on the Mandated Reporting to Community Supporting Initiative, advocating for a more equitable approach to child welfare to better identify unsafe families versus those needing community support, and reduce the disproportionate number of BIPOC families in the system.
Juvenile Justice Reform
  • Elevate the ongoing needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice system so they have appropriate services and support while at juvenile facilities, and when they transition back to the community.
Homelessness & Affordable Housing
  • In partnership with other Transition Age Youth (TAY) champions, ҳ is advocating to preserve the existing Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) Housing Supplement and Housing Navigation and Maintenance Program. These initiatives provide support and resources to TAY who are transitioning out of foster care or other forms of institutional living into independent living situations.
  • We are collaborating with other homeless service providers to advocate for higher reimbursement rates to cover costs of quality programs for TAY in L.A. County, support workforce retention, and reduce staff burnout.
  • ҳ is also seeking additional funds to assist TAY facing housing insecurity or homelessness.
Where Our Advocacy Efforts are Focused
Behavioral Health
Child Welfare
Youth Justice
Youth/Adult Homelessness
School-Based Mental Health Services

How We've Made a Difference in California

State-Level Advocacy

Community-based organizations within the public behavioral health system must be able to attract and keep a skilled workforce. Across the United States, there is a severe shortage of qualified child and adolescent psychiatrists. Even before the onset of COVID-19, California was dealing with an impending workforce crisis.

The National Council of Mental Well-Being’s Medical Director’s Institute developed solutions-based strategies for this shortage in 2017, and similar conversations have been happening nationally. This culminated in the release of comprehensive recommendations by the California Future Health Workforce Commission.

Recommendation 3.1 included enacting policy and regulatory changes to enable a path to full practice authority for nurse practitioners in California. In alignment with this recommendation, AB 890 was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood (2nd Assembly District).

ҳ joined other healthcare providers in the AB 890 coalition to urge for legislator’s support. After Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 890 into law, ҳ and the coalition focused on the NP Advisory Committee of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to move forward with regulations to implement AB 890 quickly.

In the 2023-2024 legislative cycle, ҳ was delighted to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 373 (authored by Assemblyman Mike Gipson). After witnessing several of the foster youth consumers served by ҳ face obstacles to getting prioritized for credit recovery courses during the summer session(s) offered by local school districts, ҳ worked with one state legislator’s office, and partners CA Alliance and Children’s Institute, to brainstorm a statewide solution to address this critical issue.

In the 2023 legislative year, ҳ worked tirelessly with its two statewide associations, the California Alliance, CBHA, and broader coalition, to provide feedback on the language of Senate Bill 326 (Eggman) and the anticipated implications of the bill on children, young adults, and adults. ҳ also provided extensive feedback on different iterations of Senate Bill 326 to selected state legislative offices and leaders of the California Department of Health and Human Services Agency and CA Department of Health Care Services.

Federal-Level Advocacy

As historic legislation, the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) allows federal funds for prevention services and other supports to ensure that children remain at home with their families, reducing their likelihood of entering the foster care system. Additionally, FFPSA purportedly decreases the reliance on and strengthens the requirements for group living facilities. When FFPSA was negotiated, there was no comprehensive analysis of how it would intersect with existing Medicaid laws, especially with the Institution of Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion.

In 2021-2022, ҳ’ Executive Leaders joined with coalition partners in LA County, California and nationwide to ask Congress to pass legislation ensuring that Qualified Residential Treatment Programs created under FFPSA are exempt from the Medicaid IMD (Institutions of Mental Diseases) exclusion. In 2023, this coalition effort continues but looks differently to see how this issue can be addressed through vehicles that must be passed by Congress.

Since the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in July 2022, ҳ has remained vigilant and supported the federal legislative efforts of several Congressional members who have continued to introduce legislation to ensure additional federal resources to sustain the entire 9-8-8 network in communities and regions across the nation.

How Can You Engage in Advocacy and Help ҳ?

If you’re interested in volunteering to advocate for key issues that are important to ҳ, please email us at Advocacy@ҳ.org

To find out which elected officials represent you at the local, state, and federal levels, please visit one of the following websites:



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