Our Response: Gov. Newsom’s 2024 Budget Proposal

Our Response: Gov. Newsom’s 2024 Budget Proposal

For Immediate Release:
January 10, 2024

Maya Meinert
(213) 341-0383

2024-25 State Budget Proposal: Gov. Newsom’s Plan Safeguards Supports for Children and Families

[Los Angeles, CA] JANUARY 10, 2024 –

Today Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed his 2024-25 state budget proposal, protecting many of the state’s existing programs that serve children and families, while also reflecting a more conservative economic outlook than in recent years. The Children’s Partnership thanks Gov. Newsom for preserving resources that our state’s families depend on to lead healthy lives, including maintaining the expansion of health coverage to all Californians. 

Gov. Newsom’s proposed 2024-25 budget protects key programs that affect children’s health and well-being. As a state, we should always prioritize the needs of children, especially children and families of color who face generational disinvestment. This is even more important in tough economic times. Our priorities are healthy children, strong families and welcoming communities. We know the governor shares these values, and we look forward to further investment in our children’s well-being.

Mayra E Alvarez, president of The Children’s Partnership

While we understand that the governor’s budget is a response to an expected budget shortfall, The Children’s Partnership urges Gov. Newsom to continue advancing the health of children and their families by taking a whole child health equity approach. The Children’s Partnership particularly applauds Gov. Newsom’s commitment to child and youth mental health care through the creation of a new Medi-Cal benefit for wellness coaches, as well as California’s broadband infrastructure, which especially affect children of color and children from low-income families who depend on supports like these for their success and well-being.

However, there is still more to be done to ensure the health and well-being of children in our state. The Children’s Partnership respectfully requests that the following crucial policies and programs are considered priorities as the budget process progresses:

  • Greenlight the immediate implementation of continuous Medi-Cal coverage for young children ages 0-5 so that timely immunizations, early detection and intervention of delayed development, and health care for young children are protected from harmful access interruptions

  • Increase reimbursement rates for community health workers in Medi-Cal from $26.66 per 30 minutes to at least $49.56, so that community health workers earn thriving wages, commensurate to rate increases afforded to other providers doing the same services  

  • Make permanent the federal unwinding flexibilities so that as many families as possible keep Medi-Cal coverage without unnecessary disenrollments

  • Invest in improved data collection and enforcement of timely access standards for Medi-Cal managed care plans and county mental health plans, so children and youth on Medi-Cal get timely access to mental health appointments

  • Expand the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to include children, youth and all ages regardless of immigration status so that families are nourished

  • Make good on California’s broadband infrastructure commitment to fund the deferred amounts for the Last Mile and Loan Loss Reserve accounts, which support expanded internet connections in underserved communities, so that these communities get equitable access to high quality, affordable internet

  • Fund the Community Anti-Displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP), which will finance the acquisition of naturally occurring affordable rental housing and preserve it as permanently affordable, so that families with low and moderate incomes have more options to stay in their communities and avoid homelessness

  • Expand unemployment benefits to include all people, no matter their immigration status, so that all families who call California home have the same peace of mind when protected from the instability and toxic stress of job loss 

  • Create the Health Equity Racial Justice Fund, so that California invests directly in community-based organizations, tribal organizations and health care clinics that serve disproportionately impacted communities of color, working to close racial disparities in health outcomes

By supporting early childhood health, the prenatal and postpartum health of birthing parents, youth mental and physical health, and family and community well-being, California can improve the conditions that shape a child’s health and ensure we remain a leader in building health equity for our most marginalized children and families.

The Children’s Partnership appreciates the governor’s recognition of the importance of supporting California’s children and families so they can lead healthy lives. We thank Gov. Newsom for his consideration of these whole child health equity investments that lift up our state’s children, their families, and their immediate and long-term health. The Children’s Partnership focuses on policy, research and community engagement, and we look forward to offering more budget analysis as California’s budget process develops.