If this is a mental health-related emergency, please call 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. For other emergencies, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

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Advocacy & Thought Leadership

Advocating for a better life for all

How Our Efforts in Policy Making Benefit Those We Serve

“As a recognized visionary leader in the sector, Sycamores understands how public policy intersects with practice. As part of our ongoing commitment to high quality care and practice, Sycamores believes it’s our responsibility to advocate, in collaboration with partners and those with lived experience, with policy makers so that they grasp the full implications of their decisions.”

Wendy Wang, Sycamores Chief Public Policy & Advocacy Officer

Engaging with elected officials and school representatives on behalf of those we serve is crucial to our mission. By communicating with local, state, and federal government agency leaders, serving on committees, and taking leadership positions in advocating for behavioral healthcare access, Sycamores has become a leading organization that provides critical services and assistance for children, young adults, and adults.

As valued providers to those we serve and trusted partners in our local communities, we understand our influence and responsibility. That’s why we make our voices heard at various decision-making forums where bills, regulations, and programs are reviewed. Through advocacy, Sycamores is helping shape policies that allow all nonprofit providers to serve their consumers and communities better.

Where Our Advocacy Efforts are Focused
Behavioral Health
Child Welfare
Youth Justice
Youth/Adult Homelessness
School-Based Mental Health Services

How We've Made a Difference in California

State-Level Advocacy

Community-based organizations within the public behavioral health system must be able to attract and keep a skilled workforce. Across the United States, there is a severe shortage of qualified child and adolescent psychiatrists. Even before the onset of COVID-19, California was dealing with an impending workforce crisis.

The National Council of Mental Well-Being’s Medical Director’s Institute developed solutions-based strategies for this shortage in 2017, and similar conversations have been happening nationally. This culminated in the release of comprehensive recommendations by the California Future Health Workforce Commission.

Recommendation 3.1 included enacting 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).

Sycamores joined other healthcare providers in the AB 890 coalition to urge for legislator’s support. After Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 890 into law, Sycamores and the coalition focused on the NP Advisory Committee of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to move forward with regulations to implement AB 890 quickly.

In the 2023-2024 legislative cycle, Sycamores was delighted to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 373 (authored by Assemblyman Mike Gipson). After witnessing several of the foster youth consumers served by Sycamores face obstacles to getting prioritized for credit recovery courses during the summer session(s) offered by local school districts, Sycamores worked with one state legislator’s office, and partners CA Alliance and Children’s Institute, to brainstorm a statewide solution to address this critical issue.

In the 2023 legislative year, Sycamores worked tirelessly with its two statewide associations, the California Alliance, CBHA, and broader coalition, to provide feedback on the language of Senate Bill 326 (Eggman) and the anticipated implications of the bill on children, young adults, and adults. Sycamores also provided extensive feedback on different iterations of Senate Bill 326 to selected state legislative offices and leaders of the California Department of Health and Human Services Agency and CA Department of Health Care Services.

Federal-Level Advocacy

As historic legislation, the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) allows federal funds for prevention services and other supports to ensure that children remain at home with their families, reducing their likelihood of entering the foster care system. Additionally, FFPSA purportedly decreases the reliance on and strengthens the requirements for group living facilities. When FFPSA was negotiated, there was no comprehensive analysis of how it would intersect with existing Medicaid laws, especially with the Institution of Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion.

In 2021-2022, Sycamores’ Executive Leaders joined with coalition partners in LA County, California and nationwide to ask Congress to pass legislation ensuring that Qualified Residential Treatment Programs created under FFPSA are exempt from the Medicaid IMD (Institutions of Mental Diseases) exclusion. In 2023, this coalition effort continues but looks differently to see how this issue can be addressed through vehicles that must be passed by Congress.

Since the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in July 2022, Sycamores has remained vigilant and supported the federal legislative efforts of several Congressional members who have continued to introduce legislation to ensure additional federal resources to sustain the entire 9-8-8 network in communities and regions across the nation.

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 visit one of the following websites:

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATORS
findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS
lavote.net/apps/precinctsmaps

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