Advancing Child Equity
The Children’s Partnership (TCP) advances a children’s equity agenda to enact and implement policies that provide all children, no matter their background, with the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
California is home to 9 million children, of which three in four are children of color and half—roughly 4.5 million children—have at least one immigrant parent. TCP has worked to advance policies that support the health, security and wellbeing of all children, including pushing back on anti-immigrant policies and initiatives; defending the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and advancing research and policies to support California’s most marginalized children.
COVID-19’S IMPACT TO TCP POLICY AGENDA
We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, partners and community that we serve as we navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our 2020 legislative agenda in alignment with our Pillars.
The California Legislature reconvened on May 4, 2020 with a COVID-19 tailored legislative scope that, as a result, has limited the amount of bills moving forward. As a result, below are TCP’s modified policy priorities that are responsive to the immediate needs and long-term repercussions of COVID-19 to children and families.
This pandemic lays bare and amplifies existing inequities in our systems of care and safety net. We must advocate for policy solutions for those who face disparate impact in this climate, in particular low-income children and children of color, in order to ensure our collective health and success.
Click here to read our statement on COVID-19.
Click here to read our letter to Governor Newsom.
Click here to read our letter to the Legislative Women’s Caucus in response to the Governor’s 2020-21 May Revise.
To learn more about the resources available to communities, please click here.
TCP2020 POLICY PRIORITIES
Bring care to where children are
TCP’s legislative champion Assemblymember Kansen Chu has uplifted the need to invest in AB2 315 (Quirk-Silva) as part of a larger request to Governor Newsom to address the immediate and long term mental health needs of California’s children. Click here to find the letter signed by 25 Assemblymembers, with bi-partisan support.
In 2018, TCP authored AB 2315 to improve the use of telehealth to help students get the mental health services they need where they already are—at schools.
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2315, and TCP is now seeking a budget appropriation for the bill to go into effect. This year, we are requesting a $300,000 budget allocation to allow for the California Department of Education to support its implementation and make sure schools and other education centers have the information they need to support a telehealth delivery model for improving students’ access to mental health services.
Due to COVID-19, telehealth has become an essential tool in mitigating the spread of the virus and connecting families to care. As a result, DHCS’ guidance on March 24, 2020 provides flexibility and options for providers delivering care via telehealth. However, telehealth solutions must not be solely an emergency response, but a long-term solution to ensure access to care for all who face geographic, transportation, and language barriers. Consequently, we are moving forward with our sponsored bill, AB 2007 (Salas), through a joint effort with Assemblymember Rivas and amendment of AB 2164. The bill will allow for the necessary flexibilities to support a more equitable infrastructure for care delivered via telehealth until 180 days after the current state of emergency ends.
Many children and families, in particular low-income and rural populations, face financial, transportation, and language barriers when seeking critical health services through traditional office-based or health center-based care.
Models like the Virtual Dental Home have allowed providers to improve access to oral health care by meeting children and families where they are. However, red tape barriers have made it more difficult for providers of virtual care to establish a patient via remote technology, or through “store-and-forward” options.
AB 2164 (Rivas) would amend the state regulations to ensure that more providers can deliver care via telehealth to children and families.
We are researching, developing, and advancing policies that support Community Health Workers (CHWS), a population that has been proven to increase supports for marginalized communities and simultaneously strengthens employment opportunities for low-income and marginalized communities.
In 2020, we will begin conducting community-informed research that identifies barriers and provides recommendations on increasing access to Community Health Workers for children in marginalized communities. More information to come!
Strengthen coordination of services for child wellbeing
As a result of the COVID-19 focused legislative and budget work, SB 1073 (Gonzalez) and the Medical Legal Partnership budget request have been put on hold. The Administration has also placed CalAIM activity on hold. TCP will continue to uplift these priorities with the legislature and Administration to support children and families.
Social determinants of health, such as economic security, housing stability, and immigration status have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of children and adults. At the same time, community providers, including health, early childhood, and education providers, struggle to keep pace with the impact of anti-immigrant attacks, and frequently lack the training, information and tools needed to address the harmful impacts of the federal administration’s policies on the wellbeing of communities and access to necessary services.
Now more than ever, we must strengthen the connection between California’s health, early childhood and social service providers and critical legal services in order to help address the underlying causes of health inequities.
We are seeking a State Budget investment to incentivize partnerships between community providers and legal services organizations in locations that are easily accessible to individuals and families, like health centers and early learning centers, with a particular focus on immigrant families and their children.
This policy solution is directly informed by community voice and needs resulting from our Healthy Mind, Healthy Future research.
California has done great work to ensure health coverage for all children through its Health4All Kids efforts, but there is still work to do to cover the remaining uninsured and halt declining health coverage enrollment, in particular given the chilling effect from harmful federal immigration policies like public charge.
Smart enrollment strategies for Medi-Cal and the California Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program are critical to providing more children the best possible start in life. In response to the federal anti-immigrant climate, our WIC/ELE strategy was cited in an UCLA analysis as a top policy strategy for combating the chilling effect of public charge!
Currently, there are about 87,000 young children and 11,000 pregnant women who are enrolled in the California Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program who are not enrolled in Medi-Cal, despite the programs having similar eligibility requirements.
SB 1073 would create a pathway for Medi-Cal and WIC to share data to identify eligible children and pregnant woman and expedite their enrollment into both WIC and Medi-Cal.
The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is postponing CalAIM implementation timelines in order to allow us all to effectively address COVID-19 in our communities. TCP will continue to engage in 1115 waiver conversations at the state and federal level and are looking forward to resume advancing the goals of CalAIM.
The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) is a multi-year initiative by DHCS to improve the quality of life and health outcomes of our population by implementing broad delivery system, program and payment reform across the Medi-Cal program and seeks to advance Whole Person Care. TCP sees this as an opportunity to reform Medi-Cal in order to improve healthy childhood development for all Medi-Cal-enrolled children
In addition, we look forward to working with the Administration and legislature on ways to further the Governor’s commitment to reform Medi-Cal in order to improve healthy childhood development for all Medi-Cal-enrolled children, specifically via the CalAIM proposal, which seeks to advance Whole Person Care for certain Medi-Cal enrollees, through significant state investments in reforming Medi-Cal to couple medical care with social support services.
While CalAIM is a step in the right direction to provide the comprehensive care Californians need, there is opportunity to further reform Medi-Cal to improve health care for the vast majority of Medi-Cal children who are not high needs but who may be at risk. According to recent Medi-Cal managed care audits, the underlying foundation of Medi-Cal managed care is not adequately serving the general Medi-Cal population and warrants greater accountability strategies and investments in prevention and care coordination for the other 99 percent of the population.
All Medi-Cal children could benefit from health plans establishing and improving their care coordination infrastructure to meet all levels of needs. TCP believes DHCS’ proposed financial incentive programs should be expanded to all care coordination infrastructure, not just enhanced care management (ECMs), and should also be available for 1) successful implementation of the new population health management initiative; 2) support services as needed to address identified social determinants of health; and 3) quality performance thresholds more generally, which will benefit the entire Medi-Cal population.
Invest in supports that strengthen families
Many childcare centers remain open across the state in order to care for at-risk child populations and the children of essential workers, 1 in 3 (4.6 million) of whom are immigrants. The spread of anti-immigrant policies has continued since COVID-19 began. Even before the pandemic, these policy shifts made immigrant families increasingly wary of utilizing essential public services and programs, including early childhood programs. Senator Hurtado continues to champion SB 959, which seeks to protect immigrant families by extending “safe space” policies to early childhood care and learning spaces in order to protect the safety, privacy, and wellbeing of young children and their families both during and after COVID-19.
TCP will continue to advance support for the policy, despite the limitations of the legislature.
The current hostile federal immigration climate has had detrimental effects on children in immigrant families, as our report, Healthy Mind, Healthy Future outlines. Additionally, the environment has negatively impacted the healthy development of California’s children ages 0-5 and the early childhood workers who serve them. Read our recent report to learn more.
SB 959 (Hurtado) will support immigrant families with young children by expanding California’s “safe spaces” protections to early child development centers and early learning centers. This bill is an expansion of existing law, AB 699 (O’Donnell), which requires K-12 schools to create safe spaces for immigrant students.
Check out our All In For Safe Schools site to learn more about AB 699 and TCP’s work to support safe and welcoming schools for all students!
At the national level, The Children’s Partnership is focused on the following 2020 policy priorities for children:
- Protect coverage for children through defense of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Protect immigrant families’ access to services through actions against harmful immigration policies, like changes to public charge and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
- Visit our Immigration Page to learn more
- Check out our All In For Health resources on Public Charge, like our Public Charge Toolkit
- Align with partners to count every child in the Census 2020, especially young children of color
- Check out our Kids Count campaign for resources and to learn more
Bills TCP is Supporting
The Children’s Partnership works with local, state, and national partners to advance solutions that provide all children, no matter their background, the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
Our partners are also working to advance health equity for all kids, and we’re supporting legislation we believe will help move the needle.
With a limited Legislative cycle, below are the bills currently advancing that TCP supports:
- AB 570 (Aguiar-Curry): Broadband Access
- AB 2054 (Kamlager): C.R.I.S.E.S. Act
- AB 2416 (Gabriel): Student Financial Aid, Homeless Students
- AB 2360 (Maineschien): Telehealth: Mental Health Consultation
- SB 803 (Beall): Mental Health Services, Peer Support Certification
- SB 1111 (Durazo): Juvenile Detention Fees
- SB 1130 (Gonzalez): Telecommunications
- SB 1237 (Dodd): Nurse Midwives: Scope of Practice
- SB 1383 (Jackson): Family Leave
Separating Families Separates Us from Our Values
Today, thousands of children have been separated by their parents at the border, some as young as a few months old, because of a new “zero tolerance” policy meant to deter immigrant families from trying to cross the border. The policy, which was announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calls for the...