Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative

California’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) intends to transform California’s behavioral health system into an innovative ecosystem where all children and youth from birth to age 25 have access to services for emerging and existing behavioral health needs, regardless of health payer.

With the effort led by the California Health and Human Services Agency, in partnership with other state departments, the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) is responsible for expanding training for existing behavioral health professionals and increasing the behavioral health workforce that is culturally and linguistically proficient and capable of providing age-appropriate services to children, youth, and families.

The Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative incorporates a $4.4 billion investment following a 5-year timeline. Stakeholder engagement activities are under way focusing on children, youth, families, community members, academia experts, education, government, and interagency partners. These stakeholder activities will provide opportunities to engage throughout the planning, design, and implementation of the CYBHI. This engagement will inform HCAI’s overall strategy for the design, scope and population focus of each of the workstreams.

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Included in this transformative CYBHI plan is an investment of $360 million for HCAI to build the Wellness Coach Workforce. To learn more:

Other programs/workstreams HCAI is overseeing with this CYBHI initiative:

HCAI is responsible for key workstreams under this initiative, including but not limited to: 

  • Increase the Behavioral Health Workforce to expand Training Capacity for Psychiatry and Social Workers
  • Create a Wellness Coach and Counselor Workforce
  • Develop the Substance Use Disorder Workforce
  • Build the Behavioral Health Workforce Pipeline
  • Build “Earn and Learn” Apprenticeship Models
  • Enhance Training to Serve Justice and System-Involved Youth
  • Expand Behavioral Health Training for Primary Care Providers
  • Target Professionals to Medically Underserved Areas/Populations
  • Expand Peer Personnel Training and Placement Programs
  • Augment Existing HCAI Loan Repayment, Scholarship, and Stipend Programs to Support Behavioral Health Disciplines

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy highlights and endorses the work of this Initiative in this article which serves as a call to action for the nation for children and youth to receive the help they need, where and when they need it; especially for those in our most underserved communities.

“One promising effort at the state level is California’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI), … 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


Funding Eligibility

HCAI opens application cycles for loan repayment, scholarship, and grant programs throughout the course of each year. To access information about eligibility, please click here.



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