Status of Mental Health Resources for Students

Late last week, Governor Newsom held a press conference to unveil his California’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health


The Plan outlines action across three key pillars: 


1)  Healthy Minds for California Kids

  • Provide Medi-Cal coverage for parent-child services
  • Make it easier for schools to provide prevention and treatment
  • De-stigmatize mental health support for kids
  • Offer additional resources for parents


2)  Rebuilding California’s Mental Health Systems

  • Create new virtual platforms
  • Expand early interventions
  • Add school counselors
  • Expand clinic and treatment slots
  • Develop a suicide prevention program


3)  Developing a Mental Health Workforce

  • Hire, train, and engage 40,000 new mental health workers
  • Expand remote access to services
  • Train teachers


It was exciting and welcome news. However, it wasn’t exactly new news, and it doesn’t exactly translate to immediate new funds for local education agencies (LEAs). Many of the pieces of the Governor’s plan were first introduced in the 2021-22 State Budget Act and the plan is being rolled out over several years. Some of the other programs and funds mentioned are in the 2022-23 State Budget but are directed to the individual program participants rather than to LEAs.


Here are the major components of the Master Plan:


The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative


The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) was established in the 2021-22 State Budget with a $4.4 billion investment “to enhance, expand and redesign the systems that support behavioral health for children and youth.” While the funding was provided in a lump sum, the initiative will be implemented over five years.


The CYBHI is a combined effort that includes the California Department of Health Care Services, California Department of Health Care Access and Information, California Department of Managed Health Care, California Department of Public Health, and Office of Surgeon General in partnership with other departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS), State agencies and a wide range of stakeholders, with coordination provided by CalHHS. The California Department of Education was not initially called out as part of the involved parties; however, education groups are meeting with the Health partners to ensure that the K-12 voice is heard and seen as integral to the initiative rollout. 


Teacher Residency Grant Program


The 2022 Budget Act contains $250 million in one-time funds to expand residency slots in the Teacher Residency Grant Program for teachers and school counselors. ($184 million specifically for school counselors.)


Golden State Teacher Grant Program


The 2022 Budget Act also expands eligibility to the Golden State Teacher Grant program that provides incentives toward earning a Pupil Personnel Services credential to school counselor, social worker, and school psychologist candidates. Students are eligible to receive funds to offset the cost of graduate school. They must obtain their credential within 3 years, and they must commit to working at a high priority school in California. There aren’t any new funds tied to the expansion of the program.


Assembly Bill 2508


Also during the press conference, the Governor signed AB 2508, authored by Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), related to educational counseling. The bill updates  California Education Code 49600, Education Counseling. The new language reflects the changes in the school counselor profession over the past 50 years, emphasizing mental health services within a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) structure. A much-needed change but no new funding.


The Governor has increased attention, resources, and support for the student, staff, and community mental health services so vitally needed throughout California. His master plan will put a structure in place to provide staff and programs even when the economy falters and his press conference was a good reminder to school, district, and county office personnel about what is available, and what is coming. 


We just thought it might be helpful to clarify what funds are actually available, and how they can be used. If you have any questions related to mental services, programs, legislation, or issues, just let me know. I’m always happy to help.


Take care,

-Lee Angela


Lee Angela

Partner | Capitol Advisors Group