The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) oversees twelve departments and three offices that provide a range of health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug services, income assistance, and public health services to Californians from all walks of life. More than 33,000 people work for departments in CHHS at state headquarters in Sacramento, regional offices throughout the state, state institutions and residential facilities serving the mentally ill and people with developmental disabilities. CHHS Agency Secretary Diana S. Dooley oversees directors in the departments and also directly manages a team of fiscal and program experts who advise the departments on budget, policy, legal and external affairs issues.  CHHS officials are responsible for coordinating with other state agencies, the California Legislature and the Office of the Governor.


In 1961, Government Code section 12800 established the Human Relations Agency, which became the Health and Welfare Agency in 1972.  Assembly Bill 2352 (Woods, Chapter 817, Statutes of 1998) changed the name of the Health and Welfare Agency to the Health and Human Services Agency.  The Secretary of CHHS participates on a number of committees and advisory boards, and is directed by Executive Order to establish a number of advisory bodies:

  1. California Health Benefit Exchange (SB 900 – Government Code 100500 (a)):  the Secretary serves as a voting, ex officio member of the board and is currently Chair. 
  2. First 5 (California Children and Families) Commission – Health and Safety Code section 130110 (c): the Secretary serves as an ex officio nonvoting member.
  3. Olmstead Advisory Committee – Executive Order S-10-08, authorizes the Secretary to form an advisory group to provide input on its efforts to evaluate, revise, implement, and monitor the Olmstead Plan. 
  4. Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee – Health and Safety Code section 1568.17(a)(11): the Secretary or designee serves as a member.
  5. Child Welfare Council – Welfare and Institutions Code section 16541(a): the Secretary serves as co-chair, along with the Chief Justice/designee of the California Supreme Court.
  6. State Council on Developmental Disabilities – Welfare and Institutions Code section 4521(b)(2)(A): the Secretary or designee serves as a member.
  7. Technical Services Board – Government Code section 11535 (a): the Secretary serves as a member.
  8. County Medical Services Program Governing Board – Welfare and Institutions Code section 16809.4: the Secretary or designee serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member.
  9. State Mental Health Planning Council – Welfare and Institutions Code section 5771 (b) allows for appointments at the state level with three-year staggered terms. 
  10. California Workforce Investment Board – Unemployment Insurance Code section 14012 (g): the Secretary serves as a representative with responsibility for the programs, services, or activities that are mandatory participants in the one-stop system.
  11. San Joaquin Valley Partnership – Executive Order S-22-06: the Secretary serves as a state member.
  12. Strategic Growth Council – Public Resources Code section 75121(a): the Secretary serves as a member.



"All Californians, especially those most at risk or in need, have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life as measured by the sound physical, mental and financial health of children, adolescents and adults; strong and well-functioning families; safe and sustainable communities; and dignity for all."



The California Health and Human Services Agency is comprised of five distinct offices all of which collectively make up the Office of the Secretary:

  1. Office of Legislative Affairs
    The office provides coordination, oversight, and management of proposed legislation and ensures the Administration's legislative policy priorities are developed and implemented.  The office provides policy guidance, instruction, and direction to CHHS departments, and coordinates with the Governor's Office on legislative positions.

  2. Office of External Affairs
    The office manages the ongoing public information and public affairs functions and provides guidance and direction to public information officers in CHHS departments.  In addition, the office serves as the official Agency spokesperson to respond to media inquiries, and coordinates with the Governor's Office communication staff on significant and sensitive media issues. 

  3. Office of the Agency General Counsel
    The Agency General Counsel provides legal counsel to the Office of the Secretary, Agency Secretary, and senior Agency staff.  The Agency General Counsel also works closely with the Governor's Office of Legal Affairs and coordinates the workload of the department Chief Counsels.

  4. Office of Program and Fiscal Affairs
    The office is responsible for formulating, analyzing, revising, and evaluating the program and fiscal impacts of major health and human services policies of the Administration.  This includes assessment of all policy, legislative, fiscal, and other issues that have implications, not only among CHHS departments, but beyond CHHS to other state agencies within the Executive Branch. 

  5. Administration Unit
    The CHHS Office of the Secretary serves a critical coordination role on all assignments and projects as directed by the Governor's Office and control agencies.