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Advocating for those we serve with key elected officials, departmental leaders, and school district representatives at the local, state, and federal levels is a critical element to our overall mission and work. By communicating with heads of governmental agencies, serving on committees, and assuming leadership roles in advocacy behavioral health trade associations and coalitions, we are regarded as experts in the field with real-world experience delivering care and support to children, young adults, and adults.

As valued providers to those we serve and trusted partners in our local communities, we amplify our voice at different “tables” where decision-making about bills, laws, and programs is made.

 

OUR POLICY AREAS OF FOCUS INCLUDE:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Child Welfare
  • Youth Justice
  • Medicaid
  • Youth/Adult Homelessness
  • Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)
  • School-Based Mental Health Services

 

MORE ABOUT OUR ADVOCACY WORK:

State advocacy:

The ability of community-based organizations in the public behavioral health system to recruit and retain a qualified workforce is critical. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, California was facing a looming workforce crisis. The shortage across various disciplines is acute for qualified psychiatrists specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry across the U.S. In 2017, the National Council of Mental Well-Being’s Medical Director’s Institute offered solutions-based strategies to this shortage. Similar to the national dialogue, different researchers and entities have long recognized, analyzed, and debated the workforce crisis facing California. This culminated in the release of comprehensive recommendations by the California Future Health Workforce Commission.

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Recommendation 3.1 included enactment of policy and regulatory changes to enable a path to full practice authority for nurse practitioners in California. In alignment with this recommendation, AB 890 was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood (2nd Assembly District) in the 2019-2020 legislative session. Sycamores joined with other health care providers in the AB 890 coalition to urge legislators to support AB 890. After Governor Newsom successfully signed Assembly Bill 890 into law, Sycamores and the coalition have focused on the NP Advisory Committee of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to quickly move forward with regulations to implement AB 890.

Federal advocacy:

Lauded as historic legislation, the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) allows federal funds to be used for prevention services and other supports to ensure that children remain at homes with their families, thereby preventing or reducing their likelihood of entering the foster care system. Additionally, FFPSA purportedly decreases the reliance on and strengthens the requirements for congregate care settings.

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When FFPSA was negotiated and debated, there was not a comprehensive analysis of how it would intersect with existing Medicaid law, especially with the Institution of Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. In 2021, Sycamores’ Executive Leaders joined with coalition partners in LA County, California and across the nation to ask Congress to pass legislation to ensure that Qualified Residential Treatment Programs, created under FFPSA, are exempt from the Medicaid IMD exclusion.

For more information on FFPSA implementation efforts, go to the CA Department of Social Services’ webpage:https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/ffpsa

How Can You Engage in Advocacy and Help Sycamores?

If you’re interested in volunteering to advocate for key issues that are important to Sycamores, please email us at Advocacy@Sycamores.org

To find out which elected officials represent you at the local, state, and federal levels, please go to one of the following websites: