Maintaining An Equity-Centered Approach To Address The Needs Of Children And Families: Legislature Strengthens Bold Investments In Year Two of Pandemic

Maintaining An Equity-Centered Approach To Address The Needs Of Children And Families: Legislature Strengthens Bold Investments In Year Two of Pandemic

For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2021

Aracely Navarro
(213) 341-0271 (ext. 135)

[Los Angeles, CA] Yesterday, the Legislature passed a placeholder budget bill that advances a bold blueprint for making transformative and equitable investments to improve the lives of California’s children and families. 

The passed budget includes a number of critical priorities TCP has advanced in order to better support the well-being of children and families. These investments increase child health equity by supporting early childhood development, minimizing barriers to health coverage, and increasing access to critical preventive services through continuous Medi-Cal coverage of children from birth to age five. Recognizing the complexity of the pandemic’s impacts on families, this budget continues California’s commitment to its most marginalized; the budget integrates a community health workforce into the delivery of care by providing community health worker/promotores and doula services as a covered benefit in the Medi-Cal program; makes broadband available for all by expanding infrastructure, increasing affordability and enhancing access; and expands food benefits to more people who call California home, no matter their immigration status, ending an unjust policy that has no place in our communities. These are bold investments reflecting a comprehensive response to the crises resulting from the pandemic and its inequitable harm to the health, well-being and stability of communities of color. 

“We are proud to be part of a state whose elected officials have come together to put children and families first by prioritizing investments that provide immediate support while also improving the systems and conditions that ultimately shape a child’s ability to reach their full potential,” said The Children’s Partnership President Mayra E. Alvarez. “The adopted budget bill is comprehensive, responsible and responsive to the needs of California’s most marginalized children and families. We look forward to the governor continuing this shared commitment and to the work ahead to support implementation that will help us improve the health and well-being of California’s children and families.”  

As we continue our efforts to help communities recover and heal from the pandemic, TCP looks forward to working with the Administration and Legislative leadership to include additional investments:

  • Expand early childhood mental health and trauma-informed care investments to very explicitly address the mental health and well-being of our youngest Californians between zero and five. We thank both the governor and Legislature for their proposed investment to the Mental Health Services Fund of $50 million and $250 million, respectively. We support these proposals and would like specific language in statute or regulations that these investments can be used to support early childhood mental health.   
  • Strengthen access to Medical-Legal Partnerships for COVID-19 recovery efforts and ensure communities most impacted by the pandemic have access to the legal supports and resources necessary for a healthy and nurturing environment in their community. California’s Latinx, Black, Pacific Islander and immigrant communities and families are facing heightened poverty and food insecurity, evictions and homelessness, as well as a lack or loss of health coverage. To eliminate inequities, leaders must prioritize investments for children and families facing the greatest challenges through a “Whole Child Whole Family” approach that provides integrated, coordinated and easily accessible service across various issue areas. 

We remain committed to working closely with the Legislature and the governor and our partners to advance child health equity as budget negotiations proceed. Elected leaders have a tremendous opportunity to put forward a final budget that reflects a California that values and protects children and families who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We look forward to supporting the creation and implementation of a comprehensive budget that is bold, equitable and just.