Children & Youth Behavioral Health Initiative

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) is a historic, five year, $4.7 billion dollar investment by the State of California that takes a “whole child” approach to transform and reimagine the ways that we address the mental health and well-being of children and youth.

Launched in 2021, CYBHI is comprised of many workstreams that all aim to address aspects of the mental health delivery system for children and youth, including workforce development, infrastructure, best practices, public awareness, and sustainability. 

CYBHI recognizes that schools are key players in supporting the mental well-being of children and youth, and that schools are the most likely setting for students to receive services.

The twenty workstreams of CYBHI are significant to school-based mental health and wellness programs in terms of building infrastructures, reducing silos, supporting one-time and ongoing funding, and best practices.

Additionally, several CYBHI initiatives have the potential to support the strengthening and expansion of School-Based Health and Wellness Centers.  

The CYBHI is overseen by the California Health & Human Services Agency (CalHHS), with each workstream managed by one of more CalHSS department, including: 

  • Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)
  • Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI)
  • Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC)
  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
  • Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG)

CYBHI Workstreams

Statewide Multi-Payer Fee Schedule

Statewide Multi-Payer Fee Schedule for School-Linked Behavioral Health Services is a new funding mechanism to ensure sustainable reimbursement for specific services provided in school settings.

It mandates Medi-Cal and commercial plans to reimburse at set rates for services provided to their members at school-based or linked sites. 140 LEAs will be part of the fee schedule launch as part of Cohort 1 in January 2024. A second cohort will launch July 2024.

Certified Wellness Coach

The Certified Wellness Coach is a new profession in development, aimed at helping increase California’s capacity to support the behavioral health and well-being of children and youth and support the development of a larger, more representative behavioral health workforce.

Through wellness promotion, screening, and crisis referral, Certified Wellness Coaches will offer behavioral health support that is more inclusive and readily available to youth, bridging the crucial gap between need and accessibility.

Training is set to launch in Fall 2024, and Employer Support Grants are available in January 2024.

Other Key Workstreams

Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP)

Incentive payments funding for Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans (MCPs) to build infrastructure, partnerships, and capacity statewide for school behavioral health services. It is a three-year program that began January 1, 2022, and ends December 31, 2024, and has supported 147 interventions across the state. 

School-Linked Partnership & Capacity Grants

Grants available to districts through all 58 County Offices of Education that will support readiness to implement the Multi-Payer Fee Schedule. Funding can be used to increase behavioral health capacity through hiring, training, facilities expansion, and partnership building.   

Evidence-Based & Community Defined Practices Grants

As of January 2024, three rounds of funding have been granted for a total of $180.5 million to scale evidence-based and community-defined evidence practices.  Two more rounds of funding are expected to be announced in early 2024. Awardees and RFPs can be found here

Behavioral Health Virtual Services Platforms

Launched in 2024, BrightLife Kids (for parents, caregivers, and children up to age 12, and Soluna for teams and young adults – will offer all California residents, regardless of insurance coverage, app-based behavioral health resources. These new e-platforms will complement existing services offered by schools, counties, SBHCs, community organizations, and health plans.  

Behavioral Health eConsult Services Program

Launched in 2024, the e-Consult Service connects pediatricians, primary care physicians, and other providers to behavioral health professionals to receive consultation and guidance when providing behavioral health care.

Safe Spaces

A free, online training designed to help educators and school staff recognize and respond to trauma and stress in children. Each module is about two hours and is filled with case examples, videos, strategies, and practices. 

Mindfulness, Resilience & Well-Being Supports for Children, Youth, & Parents

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is distributing$65 million among California’s 58 County Office of Education (COEs) to promote local wellness, mindfulness, resilience, and well-being programs that support teachers and students in TK-12 schools.