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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@chhs.ca.gov.

CYBHI 101

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

Stakeholder Updates

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@chhs.ca.gov.

CYBHI Equity Working Group

CYBHI Events and Webinars

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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