California Health and Human Services

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Link to the California Web State Portal
Link to the California Health and Human Services homepage

Our North Star

We envision a Healthy California for All where every individual belongs to a strong and thriving community.

Where all our children can play and learn, and where we are confident that we have done all we can to pass to them a state they can lead into the future.

Where older and disabled Californians can live with purpose and dignity, and where they are supported and valued.

Where equity is not just a word or concept but the core value.

Where we constantly pursue social and racial justice by not only lifting all boats but especially those boats that need to be lifted more.

Where health care is affordable, accessible, equitable and high-quality so it drives toward improved health.

Where we prioritize prevention and the upstream factors that impact an individual’s health and well-being.

Where we are committed to tackling the economic inequalities that force many Californians to live on the street.

Where necessities like housing and childcare are complemented by access to physical and behavioral health services.

Where we see the whole person and where programs and services address the social, cultural and linguistic needs of the individuals they serve.

Where climate threats collide with forward leaning health practices and policies that visibly turn the tide toward community resilience.

And where we see our diversity as a strength, and where we embrace a joint responsibility to take care of one another.

Our Guiding Principles


Magnifying GlassWe must be a leader in the fight for equity and strive to create programs that address persistent and systemic inequities. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how so many people are far behind and that the distance to make up to achieve equity is driven by historical, deep seated structural factors of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. In order to create a state where all of us can have a chance to thrive based on our efforts and hard work, we cannot allow certain groups and individuals to be disadvantaged because of the color of their skin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age or disability. We will seek to lift all boats, but some boats need to be lifted more.

EarWe must be better and more active listeners. This will require us to take a step back and proactively listen to the individuals and communities we are serving to better understand their conditions and the things they yearn for. As a result, we will formulate better policies, programs and services that truly meet the needs of the individuals, families and communities we serve.

Chart and graph

We must better leverage our data to understand the current conditions in our communities, the impact of our existing programs and the opportunities to improve service delivery. While we have built good systems to amass data, we find ourselves data rich but information poor. Actionable and timely data will help us advance social and economic mobility and improve the health and well-being of children, families and individuals.

Person standing

We must always think about what each person needs to thrive, always considering the cultural, economic and social factors that impact people’s lives. We will integrate shared opportunities to meet individual needs across departments – both within government and across our community partners. Our focus will be on the needs of the people we serve, not on the siloed structures of government and its programs.

Person centered

We must re-engage individuals and their communities so that programs are informed and structured to meet the diverse and unique needs of each community and person. Too often, “person-centered” programs stopped being about people and became focused on satisfying a specific funding source or administrative process. We will refocus our programs on the people being served.


We must courageously take new approaches to solve our most intractable problems. The relentless pursuit of innovation, applied thoughtfully, will catalyze our improvement efforts. We will also design programs and services across departments, including those outside CalHHS, in collaborative and partnership.


We must ensure that the delivery of our programs and services yield concrete and meaningful results. We will focus our attention and energy on work which will directly improve the lives of all Californians. We will continuously evaluate and adapt our programs to better address our clients’ unmet needs while furthering our goal of delivering positive outcomes.

Our Strategic Priorities


  • Strengthen California’s safety net programs to disrupt the inequities and disparities that fueled the pandemic in order to lift families out of poverty and create economic self-sufficiency.
  • Work to achieve a California where race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and other forms of social categorization no longer predict a person’s or community’s health and life outcomes.
  • Build new and innovative paths to train and hire culturally competent workers to meet the full diversity of California’s health and human services needs.
  • Develop a 21st century public health system that builds on a core set of functions that are disease agnostic and support the work of local public health departments.


  • Ensure all Californians have meaningful and timely access to care by enhancing technological infrastructure, developing new and innovative workforce models and expanding care delivery capacity.
  • Promote a whole person orientation to care that is focused on prevention and is delivered in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
  • Reduce the rate of growth in health care costs and increase public transparency of the quality of care and equity of health care delivery.
  • Build climate resilient communities in which every Californian, regardless of origin or income, has access to high-quality, affordable health care.

Puzzle pieces

  • Build consensus on a common set of policies and procedures to govern the exchange of health and human services information among health and social services entities in order to improve health outcomes.
  • Recognize and utilize Medi-Cal as a tool to help address many of the complex challenges facing California’s most vulnerable residents, including the homeless, those with mental health conditions, children with complex medical conditions, those who are justice-involved and the growing aging population.
  • Transform California’s mental health and substance use disorder systems by increasing the availability of prevention and outpatient services and treatments, as well as stabilizing and expanding the overall number of community-based placements for individuals who require residential support on their path to greater self-reliance and independence.
  • Address the upstream social determinants, including housing and food insecurity, which disproportionately impact communities of color, drive disease and worsen health and economic disparities.

Hand holding two hearts

  • Reduce homelessness, especially chronic homelessness, by focusing on a “housing first” strategy and building up permanent supportive housing and the support services needed by those we house, including employment support, substance abuse treatment, and mental health treatment as a path out of poverty.
  • Provide opportunities for Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, to prepare for and participate in competitive integrated employment.
  • Move toward paying for outcomes in the developmental services system by implementing rate reforms and developing the capability to adequately track and measure outcomes at the regional center, service provider and consumer level.
  • Expand diversion, re-entry and reintegration services so that anyone released from an incarcerated setting can reintegrate into the community seamlessly with access to health and social services


  • Transform California’s behavioral health system into an innovative ecosystem where all children and youth age 25 and younger have access to a full continuum of services, in ways that are easily accessible and culturally appropriate for children, youth, and their families.
  • Improve outcomes for children living in extreme poverty, in foster care and in juvenile justice system by addressing adverse childhood experiences, early childhood and education needs, and improving access to physical health, mental health and social services.
  • Promote parental responsibility to enhance the well-being of children by providing child support services to establish parentage and collect child support.
  • Ensure the health and well-being of children and youth with complex needs who receive services from multiple and at times fragmented public systems.
  • Ensure fewer children encounter the juvenile justice system by building up the network of trauma informed, community-based, culturally appropriate interventions to support these young Californians before such encounters, and for those who have an encounter, to divert them early and often toward community-based interventions and away from institutional interventions.

Older People

  • Mobilize state government, local communities, private organization and philanthropy to harness the state’s innovative spirit, channel resources where they are needed most, and open new opportunities for working together to create inclusive, equitable communities for all Californians of all ages.
  • Create more choices for home and community living as we age, including expanded service options, affordable and accessible housing models, health care partnerships with Medi-Cal and Medicare, and support for family and paid caregivers – with easier navigation and care coordination for diverse adults and families.
  • Support healthy aging for all, by reducing health inequities and disparities across the lifespan, preventing and addressing isolation as we age, and expanding dementia awareness and geriatric care.
  • Protect older and disabled adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation both at home and in congregate facilities, while ending older adult homelessness and prevent poverty and hunger as we age.