June 2024 Newsletter

June 2024 Newsletter

Amid Tough Fiscal Climate, CA Balanced Budget Deal a Win for Kids

The Children’s Partnership appreciates, especially in this challenging budget year, that the 2024-25 state budget agreement between the Governor and the Legislature preserves many of the state’s investments in programs that support the health of children and their families.

TCP is particularly grateful for the steps the Governor and our state’s budget leaders have taken toward funding continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children ages 0-5, an impactful move that protects young children’s health coverage and puts them on a path to good health, as well as begins to correct long-standing systemic barriers in the program. TCP and our partners fought hard for this funding, and we’ll continue to support policies that advance health equity for all children in California.

However, the budget also contains painful cuts to programs and services that families depend on to stay healthy and thrive, and we are disappointed that additional options were not considered to prevent these cuts that will have a disproportionate burden on families of color and low-income families across California.

Show Your Support for Bills on Digital Equity, Medi-Cal Call Center Wait Times, LGBTQ+ Student Rights

As bills make their way through the Legislature, we’re finding that some TCP-supported bills need your help to keep momentum going. You can help by showing your support on social media:

  • AB 2239 (Bonta) End Digital Discrimination in California! passed the Assembly on May 22 after a hard-fought effort by equity advocates to secure enough votes and in the face of concerted opposition from industry lobbyists who are fighting hard to preserve the status quo. 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. The bill now moves on to the Senate on July 2 for consideration, where our fight for what’s right for kids and families will continue!

AB 1955 (Ward) Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth (SAFETY) Act passed the Assembly floor on June 27, after impassioned testimony given on both sides. The bill will ban school districts from passing policies requiring staff to notify parents if their child uses a different name or pronouns at school, forcibly outing LGBTQ+ students. Under current California law and policy, schools are required to create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ students, including respecting their privacy. Studies show that LGBTQ+ students who feel safe and supported at school have better mental health outcomes and improved academic performance. The bill is now on its way to the governor! Help us by sharing on Twitter.

SB 1289 (Roth) County Medi-Cal Call Center Standards and Reporting passed the Senate Health Committee on June 4 and will now be considered by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. This bill will set new standards for county call center wait times and require the results to be publicly posted. Medi-Cal enrollees can re-enroll by phone, a key tool that helps Medi-Cal better serve families. But long call wait times – often 2 hours or more – make phone-renewal impossible for many people who cannot afford to take time off work. The impact is worse on people with limited English-language skills. Help us by sharing on Twitter.

Uplifting LGBTQ+ Youth, Children in Immigrant Families

The Children’s Partnership is proud to support all children and youth in California, no matter where they live, where they come from, what they look like or who they love. In honor of Pride Month and Immigrant Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting our LGBTQ+ children and youth and California’s children in immigrant families with the release of updated fact sheets. These new resources highlight several aspects of children’s lives, including health care access and coverage, mental health, school climate and safety, food and housing security, economic well-being, and much more, as well as protective factors that help our communities mitigate risks to health and support children’s success.

By uplifting these children and the issues that affect their lives, we can find more effective ways to support their success now and into the future.

Help make California the best place to have, raise and be a child by using and sharing these fact sheets and their accompanying social media toolkits.

Policy Brief: Community Health Workers Advancing Child Health Equity

The Children’s Partnership and First 5 Center for Children’s Policy have released a new policy brief, “Community Health Workers Advancing Child Health Equity: Part II,” which outlines how community health workers, promotores and representatives (CHW/P/R) are an anti-racist solution providing support for early childhood development and child health equity. The brief:

  • Provides an update on Medi-Cal’s CHW benefit implementation
  • Uplifts programs and models across California that are utilizing CHW/P/Rs to benefit children and families
  • Shares policy recommendations including how California can continue to take successful models to scale
  • Provides a roadmap for advocates to champion reforms that center the contributions of CHW/P/Rs and address systemic inequities in health care

We are also excited to share that the 2024-25 state budget includes a rate increase for CHW/P/Rs to better value their incredible work serving children and families across the state! Download and share the policy brief widely with your networks today.


Immigrant Health, Public Charge & Health Coverage Flyers Now Available

ALL IN for Health, the CA-Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition and the Whole Child Equity Partnership have released three new and updated fact sheets designed to be shared with community members and to help advocates, parents, guardians, teachers and others better understand the latest updates in health coverage, Medi-Cal expansion and public charge.

These fact sheets are available in eight languages: English, Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Haitian Creole. 

Updated: ALL IN to #KeepKidsCovered Toolkit for Educators

Attention teachers, caregivers and educators! ALL IN to #KeepKidsCovered is proud to present the updated 2024 community education toolkit to help you inform families of the Medi-Cal renewal process and the recent expansion of Medi-Cal.

There are three new fact sheets, including information about public charge. All content is now available in seven languages: English, Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Share this information by posting on social media, including it in your newsletter, and sharing flyers at after-school meetings.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Kristen Golden Testa, TCP’s Director of Health Care Policy

It is with mixed emotions that we announce the departure of Kristen Golden Testa from The Children’s Partnership after a decades-long impactful tenure as director of health care policy. Kristen has been a dedicated advocate for children’s health and well-being, leading our efforts in shaping health care policy that prioritizes the needs of children from marginalized communities. Her passion and expertise have been instrumental in advancing our mission, and her presence will be greatly missed.

As we bid farewell to Kristen and wish her all the best in her future endeavors, we are excited to announce our search for a new director of health care policy. TCP is looking to bring on a seasoned professional with a proven track record in health policy and a deep commitment to equity and justice. This new leader will bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience that will propel our organization forward in advocating for policies that ensure every child – regardless of their race, ethnicity or place of birth – has access to quality health care. We look forward to the positive impact our new director of health care policy will undoubtedly make in furthering our mission.

Please share this opportunity with your networks!

Disappointing End for Two TCP Co-Sponsored Bills, but Advocacy Continues

This budget and legislative season has been a tough one, with TCP and our partners throwing our full weight behind bills and initiatives designed to support the health and well-being of all children and families in California. Despite our best efforts, some important bills will not move forward, including two TCP co-sponsored bills: 

  • AB 2956 (Boerner)Protecting Medi-Cal Coverage for Californians Act was held in committee last month, effectively killing the bill for this year. This bill would have addressed the thousands of children that are wrongly dropped from Medi-Cal coverage each month because of procedural or “paperwork” barriers, maintained federal tools that help keep children and families covered, and ensure that adult Medi-Cal enrollees get coverage for a full year, even if their income changes. We are deeply disappointed in this outcome, but TCP continues to push for stronger coverage policies for kids and families with the Newsom Administration.

    On June 4, TCP participated in a press conference at the State Capitol along with AB 2956 champion Assemblymember Tasha Boerner and bill co-sponsors Western Center on Law and Poverty and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. The event called “We Can’t Go Back!” focused on the impacts of not passing the bill, particularly on children and communities of color. TCP President Mayra E. Alvarez spoke about the importance of extending federal Medi-Cal renewal flexibilities, and providing funding for continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children and community health workers who work with community-based organizations. (Watch a recording of the press conference.) We are grateful to the governor and Legislature for moving forward funding for continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children and community health workers, and look forward to working with our elected officials to do all we can to keep more Californians covered. 
  • AB 2466 (Carrillo) Timely Access to Medi-Cal Mental Health for Children and Youth was held on suspense in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and will not advance. This bill proposed legislative changes that implement strategies to better evaluate Medi-Cal managed care plans’ compliance with timely access standards, and provide greater accountability for plans not meeting those standards. The bill was created in response to the state auditor’s report highlighting the challenges that children and youth face when accessing timely mental health services, particularly urgent care appointments, and the need for more robust monitoring of compliance with timely access standards. We are disappointed the Legislature chose not to move this bill forward, but we will continue to work toward ensuring children and youth get the care they need when they need it.

Mayra E. Alvarez Quoted on Continuous Medi-Cal Coverage for Young Children, CA Budget
TCP President Mayra E. Alvarez was featured in The Star News and El Latino, discussing the importance of making sure children ages 0-5 have access to health care and how gaps in health coverage can cause harm during children’s critical first five years of life. State of Reform featured the press conference Alvarez took part in on AB 2956, and highlighted TCP’s response to Gov. Newsom’s proposed May Revise budget. 

TCP Focus Group Research Featured on Georgetown University Blog
Kristen Golden Testa authored a post about her research on the Say Ahhh! blog, a publication of the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. The blog post outlined how families’ Medicaid unwinding experiences, using focus group research with Medi-Cal families of color across California, can help us advance health equity.