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Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative

Program Description

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative was announced in July 2021 with a $4.4B investment to enhance, expand and redesign the systems that support behavioral health for children and youth.

The goal of the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative is to reimagine mental health and emotional well-being for ALL children, youth, and families in California by delivering equitable, appropriate, timely and accessible behavioral health services and supports with the following aspirations

  • Advance Equity: ALL children, youth and their families have access to linguistically, culturally, and developmentally appropriate services and supports
  • Designed for Youth by Youth: Children and youth are engaged in the design and implementation of services and supports; ensuring that programs center on their needs
  • Start Early, Start Smart: The systems that support children, youth and their families act early by promoting positive mental health and reducing risk for more significant mental health needs and challenges
  • Center around Children and Youth: Across all levels of government, child- and youth-serving agencies form coordinated systems of care to deliver high-quality behavioral health programs responsive to the needs of youth and their families
  • Empower Families and Communities: People who teach, work with or care for children and youth are equipped to recognize signs of poor mental health or substance use and know how to access supports
  • Right Time, Right Place: Youth and children can access high-quality care and information when they need it — including early mornings, evenings, and weekends and where they need it — including where they live, learn, and play
  • Free of Stigma: Children, youth and their families can talk about their mental health and well-being and seek help without feeling ashamed or fearing discrimination

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative will be designed and implemented in partnership with CalHHS departments, education stakeholders from early childhood, K-12 and higher education, other State agencies, subject matter experts, community partners and stakeholders on the ground and in the field, and children, youth, and their families.

For more information, read the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative brief.

For questions and inquiries, contact

CYBHI Reports


View the Youth at the Center Report, highlighting what children, youth, families, and community members want in a reimagined behavioral health ecosystem. The report is foundational to the CYBHI’s efforts to ensure that their voices, needs, and lived experiences continue to guide every phase of the CYBHI’s work.

Learn about the CYBHI’s progress to date in the  January 2023 Progress Report. The report includes highlights, achievements, and work to come.

Read the CYBHI’s Working Paper: California’s Children & Youth Behavioral Health Ecosystem, an early blueprint articulating what a more integrated and equitable mental and behavioral health system would look like and outlining the components, changes and steps necessary to get there.


To learn more about the CYBHI, our approach, focus areas and workstreams, view the CYBHI 101 presentation and latest FAQ.

Stakeholder Updates

CYBHI Report: Youth at the Center

We welcome input on the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative. If you would like to provide thoughts or comments or sign up to receive regular updates on the CYBHI, please email

CYBHI Equity Working Group

May 31 – Public Equity Working Group Meeting, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

March 29 – Public Equity Working Group Meeting, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

January 18 – Public Equity Working Group Meeting

October 19 – Public Equity Working Group Meeting

August 17-  Public Equity Working Group Meeting

CYBHI Events and Webinars

 Friday, June 9, 2023, 2pm – 4pm – Public Webinar 

June’s webinar will share updates on recent developments, work-to-date, and upcoming next steps of the Initiative and its workstreams. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions from CYBHI leaders and partners on their work. As the webinar date approaches, we will share more information on its contents.

February 28 – Public Webinar

February 24 – Public Webinar

February 1 – Public Webinar

October 20 – Public Webinar

Quarterly Webinar 7/15

Kick-Off Webinar 3/15

In the News

SAGE Journals

"This statewide comprehensive approach provides an opportunity to build a system of care for all young people in California with a strong focus on equity, including supporting and developing strategies for communities of color, low-income families, LGBTQ+ individuals, and communities with elevated rates of adverse childhood experiences. Such efforts can change the arc of the lives of the next generation and create the potential to alter drivers of poor mental health. We need initiatives like this for all young people, wherever they are in the country, and we need to be sure not to leave anyone behind."   – U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD on the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.

Read the U.S. Surgeon General’s  full commentary: “The Mental Health of Minority and Marginalized Young People: An Opportunity for Action” published in Sage Journals.

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