In this edition of our “What They’re Watching” series, Alex Briscoe, Principal at the California Children’s Trust, tells us about his passion for improving the way California serves the behavioral health needs of its children. Through his work in the 5-year California Children’s Trust initiative, Briscoe and his colleagues have developed comprehensive strategies for reforming the behavioral health safety net for kids, namely through the Children & Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.
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“There’s a fundamental crisis—that we created—in the lives of children. So I’m very much focused on … how we teach young people to resist the toxic messages of this culture … And I think we’re also acknowledging that Medicaid is the number one dominant actor in this space for kids. Six out of 10 kids are eligible for it. If we don’t get it right, we can’t fix it.
So I think this kind of nexus of public health [and] Medicaid folks working around social justice issues and focusing on kids … it’s kind of a moment for us.”
The California Children’s Trust established 5 goals for transforming the behavioral healthcare system for California youth: remove diagnosis as a requirement for children to be treated, spend billions more to address children’s behavioral health, makes schools a focal point of behavioral health support, expand the providers who are able to provide children behavioral healthcare, and center the emotional impact that racism and poverty has on children into this work.