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    A Call to Action: Improving Mental and Behavioral Health for California’s Children

    Mental illness is an increasingly common condition among California’s children, yet the state lacks a coherent system of care. In 2018, the California Children’s Hospital Association (CCHA) convened a workgroup to discuss this emerging crisis, and now has released a report offering recommendations for action. CCHA President & CEO Ann-Louise Kuhns, discusses the report and what needs to be done. 

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    The Family Voices Family Engagement in Systems Assessment Tools

    Family participation is essential for creating the policies and programs that shape the services children and families receive. Family Voices has created the Family Engagement in Systems Assessment Tool (FESAT) and Family Engagement in Systems (FES) Toolkit. Organizations can use these family-created tools to assess how well they engage families; improve family engagement over time; and guide the design of systems-level activities to ensure family engagement.

  • Image of Mia and Parents

    Parent Leaders Bring Their Daughter’s Playground Dream to Life

    Like most 10-year-olds, Mia Vasquez loves to spend the day at a playground. Unlike most, Mia requires accessible play structures, which are not available near her home. Her parents felt frustrated by the distances they had to drive, and decided to take on the challenge of persuading their home town to construct an accessible playground. Through Project Leadership, the Family Voices of California’s advocacy training program, they developed the skills to mobilize the community support and funding needed to make Mia’s dream playground a reality. Read about their journey.

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    Nurses Taking Lead Role in Improving Pediatric Hospital Discharge


    California Nurse-Led Hospital Discharge Learning Collaborative

    When it comes to quality improvement efforts in health care, nurses traditionally have been “brought along for the ride.” A new project aims to put nurses in the driver’s seat. An eight-hospital coalition brings together a multidisciplinary team at each hospital to create and test innovative discharge planning initiatives. Each team is led by a nurse, with the goal of establishing nurses as leaders with the confidence to generate change.

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    Five Top Tips for Engaging Families in Advisory Roles – Advice from a Family Leader

    The perspective and expertise of parents and caregivers are invaluable in efforts to improve the health care system for children with special health care needs. But how can service and policymaking organizations involve family members in Family Advisory Committees and maintain their interest and participation? A veteran parent offers her thoughts and tips.

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    Family-to-Family Health Information Centers: Pathways to Partnerships

    Whether it’s facing the shock of a first diagnosis or responding to the many challenges along the way, parents of children with special health care needs often find that their most highly valued source of support is an experienced and knowledgeable parent who has navigated the same path. But where to find such a parent? Family-to-Family Health Information Centers may provide the answer.

  • Photo of Olga and Magaly

    The Mental Health Journey of a Mother and Daughter

    When Magaly was 11, her mother, Olga, found suicide plans on her phone. Six years later, they continue to navigate the challenges of Magaly’s diagnosis of depression and psychosis. Their journey touches upon the importance of early identification of mental health issues, access to care, and the struggles for support. Children with chronic and complex physical conditions often have mental and emotional issues that go unrecognized and untreated. 

  • Photo of Libby

    Project Leadership: A Growing Network of Family Advocates

    Families of CSHCN are the experts on their children’s health care and on how systems and services could function more effectively to meet their needs. However, many family members lack the skills, confidence, and support to pursue advocacy and leadership roles in system change. That’s beginning to change in California.

  • Addressing Children’s Mental Health Needs

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to note that many children with special health care needs also require mental health care services. The California Legislature has proposed several bills that address children’s mental health. There are two current bills worth noting. 


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