CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services Policy Committee Tackle Major Issues During CSAC Legislative Conference

The CSAC Health and Human Services Policy Committee tackled three major issues during the in-person meeting Thursday, hearing from speakers on aging, the Governor’s behavioral health priorities, and homelessness. Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos, Vice Chair of the Committee, welcomed speakers on each topic.

Supervisors heard first from Susan DeMarois, Director of the California Department of Aging and longtime CSAC partner, on the state’s plans for implementing the next nine years of the 10-year Master Plan for Aging. She also provided an update on the initiative to gather feedback on the local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) structure known as the Hubs and Spokes model. Director DeMarois reiterated her commitment to working with counties to ensure the right amount of local flexibility and continued services, including working to improve and increase funding for the array of services needed by the state’s growing aging population.

The Committee then heard from Stephanie Welch, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health for the California Health and Human Services Agency on the Governor’s Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Courts proposal, as well as recent major initiatives to invest in behavioral health infrastructure through the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Continuum Program, implementing a statewide 9-8-8 behavioral health crisis line, and the expansion of Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) services in 37 counties. On CARE Courts, which supervisors heard about directly from the Governor at the CSAC Opening Session the previous day, Deputy Secretary Welch explained that the concept is designed to assist people with untreated psychotic disorders before they become involved with the criminal justice system or are institutionalized. For more information on the Governor’s proposal, visit the state’s CARE Court website.

Helene Schneider, Regional Coordinator for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) rounded out the meeting with a quick presentation on the state of homelessness across the nation and the soon-to-be-released Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Regional Coordinator Schneider also emphasized the importance of collaboration between all levels of government and offered to work with any county that was interested in accessing USICH resources. She can be contacted through the USICH staff page.

Presenter materials and presentations will be available on CSAC’s website Monday. 

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