April Newsletter: Take Action to #KeepKidsCovered & More!

April Newsletter: Take Action to #KeepKidsCovered & More!

On today’s Day of the Child and always, The Children’s Partnership is proud to continue its advocacy to support the health and well-being of every child in California. In continued celebration of our 30th anniversary, we held the second installment of our For Our Children’s Future speaker series on April 23.

“A Child’s Right to Thrive” featured an online fireside chat between Melanie Fontes Rainer, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and TCP President Mayra E. Alvarez.

The two health equity leaders discussed a wide range of topics, including systemic barriers to care, intersectionality and impact of childhood experiences, cultural competency in care, families’ rights and more.

“Thinking through what it means to be a kid or parent who maybe doesn’t speak English, maybe has a disability, and the intersectionality of those and how you access services is really important,” said Director Fontes Rainer. “The intersectionality of who we are as people and the rights that we have, and making sure that we’re culturally accessible and accommodating to that because it’s not uniform, we’re not a monolith.”

Continue reading about this inspiring conversation on our website.

Tell Gov. Newsom that You Want Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Young Children Now!

Over half of California’s children rely on Medi-Cal, the vast majority of whom are children of color. Unfortunately, at least 306,000 kids have lost their Medi-Cal coverage from June 2023 through February 2024 alone. Almost all of these children are still eligible for coverage. But, long call wait times, lack of language services, paperwork errors and lost mail have made it difficult for many parents to keep their kids covered. Even short gaps in coverage can be devastating, particularly for young children who require frequent well-child visits and for children with special health care needs requiring life-saving medications.

California has a solution: Continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children ages 0-5.

But so far, there hasn’t been any funding approved for this policy, which was enacted two budget cycles ago.

Tell Gov. Newsom and the legislature to greenlight and fund continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children. Doing so will protect the investments California already has made in Medi-Cal mental health access, early childhood development and expanded eligibility. All these depend on having the Medi-Cal insurance card.

Don’t wait – The governor will release his revised budget by May 14!

ALL IN Educational Videos

California families now need to renew their Medi-Cal coverage, after years of not needing to renew during the pandemic. The process can be confusing, but families don’t have to navigate this process alone.

In partnership with five talented and diverse community health workers from across California, ALL IN to #KeepKidsCovered created an educational video in five different languages to help families navigate the Medi-Cal renewal process. The video is available in English, Spanish, Punjabi, Cantonese and Tagalog.

Want to help uplift CHW/P/Rs like these, who are helping get the word out about important Medi-Cal renewals and much more? Visit the California CHW/P/R Coalition webpage to learn how you can support this valuable workforce.

Support TCP’s 2024 Legislative & Budget Priorities

This budget and legislative season, we’re focusing on whole child health – because families don’t lead single-issue lives. That means we’re supporting policies that would improve access to Medi-Cal coverage for families; timely mental health care for youth; equitable broadband internet services; fair wages for community health workers, promotoras and representatives; housing justice; and more.

2024 marks the 30th year of The Children’s Partnership fighting for children’s health equity policies. Our state is at a critical juncture in its commitment to children. We recommit ourselves to the work needed to ensure the healthy development of all children as we look to the next 30 years and beyond.

Use this toolkit to spread the word to your networks about the bills and budget priorities currently being considered by the governor and state legislature!

Three TCP Co-Sponsored Bills Advance

Photo: Maddie Ribble, left, TCP policy director for social drivers of health, in Sacramento on April 10 for digital equity advocacy day. Ribble is pictured here with Claudia Garcia, Tech Exchange; Miguel Leon, Michelson Center for Public Policy; and Alyssa Mohamadzadeh, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.

The Children’s Partnership is celebrating the advancement of three of its co-sponsored bills out of their first policy committees! While the job is not yet done, we’re pleased with these developments and continue to support the momentum they’ve generated, alongside our invaluable partners in these efforts to ensure health equity for all California children and families.

End Digital Discrimination in California! (AB 2239)

This bill, authored by Assemblymember Mia Bonta, will make California the first state to define digital discrimination based on impact, ensuring accountability when large internet service providers offer higher prices and/or lower quality service in predominantly low-income and communities of color.

On April 10, TCP and the California Alliance for Digital Equity brought together more than 50 community members and advocates from various sectors to rally outside the state Capitol, and they met with more than 20 legislators’ offices, including several undecided committee members who ultimately voted in support of the bill. AB 2239 passed out of both the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

Protecting Medi-Cal Coverage for Californians (AB 2956)

Whitney Francis of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, one of TCP’s co-sponsors on AB 2956, testified in support of Assemblymember Tasha Boerner’s bill to make Medi-Cal renewals easier and provide 12 months of continuous coverage for adults. The bill passed out of the Assembly Health Committee with a 13-0 vote and gained committee chair Mia Bonta as a co-author.

Timely Access to Medi-Cal Mental Health for Children and Youth (AB 2466)

After moving testimony from a parent who experienced years of delays in getting care for her son with autism, this bill passed the Assembly Health Committee with a 13-0 vote. AB 2466 will make sure Medi-Cal-managed care plans take steps to ensure timely access to mental health care. It will also hold plans accountable for efforts to recruit new providers and enhance the Department of Health Care Services’ compliance monitoring and accountability procedures.

Learn more about these and other TCP legislative priorities by reading our 2024 Children’s Health Equity Policy Agenda.

Mayra E. Alvarez Moderates Breakout Session on Cultural Competency for Family Voices of California Health Summit

On April 24, TCP President Mayra E. Alvarez moderated a breakout session for the Family Voices of California 2024 Virtual Health Summit centered on the importance of cultural competency and cultural humility in health care services, especially as it relates to children and youth with special health care needs. She emphasized how culturally concordant care is essential in advancing child health equity and fostering an inclusive health care environment that is aligned with and driven by the diverse backgrounds of the communities served. A discussion with the real experts in the audience – families – followed the presentation.

Kristen Golden Testa Presents to March of Dimes on Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Children

On April 24, Kristen Golden Testa, TCP’s policy director for health, presented on the importance of multi-year continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children to long-standing partner March of Dimes. The organization held its lobby day in Sacramento that day, and one of their three advocacy priorities was for this type of continuous Medi-Cal coverage. Golden Testa conveyed to this impressive group of March of Dimes family members how we need the legislature and the governor to fund this important coverage protection, so young children do not have gaps in coverage during the critical period in their lives when 90% of brain development occurs. March of Dimes members also shared how important continuous coverage is for families, not only in ensuring that their children can see a health care provider when needed but also in offering peace of mind to parents and guardians.

TCP Director of Early Childhood Development Eva Rivera will join Abriendo Puertas Webinar Series on Latine Families

Join Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors and UnidosUS for an enlightening two-part webinar series designed to delve into the specific challenges and opportunities facing Latine families in California and Texas. These webinars will serve as a vital tool for caregivers, community members, policymakers and advocates to address and advance the needs of our youngest and most vulnerable Latine populations. Each session will highlight issues relevant to children five years and younger, including expectant families. Learn about state-specific data from the National Latino Family Survey and explore the Latino Infant Initiative Policy Agenda in greater detail. TCP’s own Eva Rivera, Director of Early Childhood Development, will join the conversation!

California Session
May 8, 2024
2-3 p.m. PDT
Speakers: Esmeralda Lopez (UnidosUS), Javier Martinez (Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors), Tania Villarroel (UnidosUS), Eva Rivera (The Children’s Partnership) and Joana Perez (Parent Leader)

Texas Session
May 9, 2024
2-3 p.m. CDT
Speakers: Eric Holguin (UnidosUS), Javier Martinez (Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors), Tania Villarroel (UnidosUS) and Melanie Monroe (Parent Leader)

Register for one or both sessions.

Ethnic Media Services Briefing on Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Children

The Children’s Partnership held a briefing with Ethnic Media Services on the importance of multi-year continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children ages 0-5 and the need for Gov. Newsom and the Legislature to greenlight funding for the policy. The briefing was covered by La Opinión, India Post, World News Journal, The Los Angeles Post, Península 360 Press and Nguoi Viet, among others.

Mayra E. Alvarez Discusses Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Children on KPBS, KZSF 1370 AM, South Kern Sol News

TCP President Mayra E. Alvarez appeared on San Diego PBS member station KPBS (also available to read in Spanish) to talk about the impacts on families of the Medi-Cal unwinding process, as well as the benefits of having multi-year continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children ages 0-5. She also spoke about this with South Kern Sol News and on radio show Buenas Tardes Con Celina on KZSF 1370 AM La Kaliente.

TCP Co-Sponsorship of AB 2956 on Radio Bilingüe, KPBS

Mayra E. Alvarez discussed on Radio Bilingüe The Children’s Partnership’s co-sponsorship of the Protecting Medi-Cal Coverage for Californians Act (AB 2956), which would allow adults enrolled in Medi-Cal to keep their coverage for a full 12 months and make the federal pandemic-era flexibilities permanent. The co-sponsorship was also mentioned by KPBS and South Kern Sol News in the stories above.

California Health Care Foundation Features CHW/P/R Hearing, TCP Testimony

California Health Care Foundation covered on its blog the joint informational hearing, “Bright Spots and Remaining Barriers to Realizing the Potential of Community Health Workers, Promotoras, and Representatives (CHW/P/R) to Improve Health in California,” which took place in March in the Assembly Health Committee and Budget Sub No. 1. Mayra E. Alvarez’s testimony was included, which focused on the historical context and deployment of CHW/P/Rs in California, as well as the urgent priorities for the workforce as outlined in the 2024 CHW/P/R Policy Agenda.