Children’s Defense Fund - California

Since 1998, Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) has worked with colleagues in the 100% Campaign to ensure that all of California’s children gain access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. CDF-CA’s efforts to expand coverage for children, simplify enrollment processes, and support outreach efforts have resulted in a significant decline in the number of uninsured children in the state. See below for more information about CDF-CA’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

Legislative Advocacy

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  • California KidsWell Partners Comment on Governor’s Budget Proposal

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    CA: California KidsWell partners, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund-CA, PICO California, and The Children’s Partnership, issued a press release along with two other statewide organizations on the governor’s proposed budget. The press release notes a missed opportunity to expand Medi-Cal coverage to immigrants newly eligible for “deferred action” status, disappointment in maintained cuts to Medi-Cal provider rates, and excitement for a proposal to expand a county pediatric palliative care pilot program. The organizations call on the Governor and Legislature to create a system that will truly cover all children in California regardless of income or immigration status.

  • California KidsWell Partners Praise Governor Brown’s Support for CHIP

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    CA: The Children’s Health Coverage Coalition, which includes KidsWell partners Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund-California, PICO California, and The Children’s Partnership, issued a press release praising the Brown Administration’s letter calling on Congress to extend CHIP funding. The letter encourages Congress to act early and emphasizes CHIP’s importance to California’s fiscal stability.

  • KidsWell Partners Circulate Letter Urging Congress to Extend MIECHV Program Funding

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    CDF, First Focus, NY: KidsWell Partners, Children’s Defense Fund, First Focus, and Health Care for All New York, signed on to a letter urging Congress to extend funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program before the end of this legislative session or as one of the first acts of the next legislative session. MIECHV funding is set to expire in March 2015. Organizations are encouraged to add their name to the letter by November 7th.


  • California KidsWell Partners Advocate to Help Children and Families Maintain Medi-Cal Coverage

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    CA: KidsWell grantees, Children Now, PICO California, The Children’s Partnership, and Children’s Defense Fund – California, joined the California Coverage & Health Initiatives and the United Way of California on a statement advocating for Senate Bill (SB) 18. SB 18 would require the state to accept private foundation funds and matching federal funds to help children and families maintain their Medi-Cal coverage. The California Endowment has already offered $6 million which, should the bill become law, would be matched by $6 million in federal funds. The bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee and will now head to the Assembly floor.

  • California KidsWell Partners Circulate Advocate for the Renewal of CHIP Funding

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    CA: KidsWell California grantees, Children Now, PICO California, The Children’s Partnership, and the Children’s Defense Fund – California, wrote a memo to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer as Congress considers renewing CHIP funding, which expires in 2015. The memo recommends that CHIP funding be renewed for at least four more years, supports and highlights the importance of the “CHIP bump” as an investment in children’s health care, highlights the renewal of CHIP funding as an opportunity to improve and realize program efficiencies, and calls for renewal as soon as possible.  

  • Kidswell Partners Support Bill to Strengthen Stakeholder Input for Children in Medi-Cal

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    MomsRising, CA: Over 50 organizations, including KidsWell grantees, MomsRising, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund – California, PICO California, and The Children’s Partnership, signed onto a letter to the California Legislature strongly supporting the passage of AB 357 to modify the name, scope, and structure of the Healthy Families Advisory Panel. The letter strongly urges the legislature to support the bill as a way to ensure providers, families, and stakeholders representing enrollees have a voice to address issues affecting children in Medi-Cal.

  • CDF-CA Advocates for Children’s Health Care Programs in Budget

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    CA: Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, senior policy and communications associate for the Children's Defense Fund—California, was quoted in California Healthline about the inclusion of children’s health care programs in California’s budget.  The programs include the Black Infant Health Program, Early Mental Health Initiative, applied behavior analysis therapy benefit, Children's Dental Disease Prevention Program, and Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rate restoration. Stillwell-Parvensky stated, “We're hopeful the Legislature will decide to invest in effective health prevention programs for children. In the grand scope of the budget, these are relatively small-ticket items that have been proven to have a big impact for kids.”
  • CA Advocates for Children’s Health Programs in State Budget

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    CA: Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, senior policy and communications associate for the Children’s Defense Fund-California, was quoted in California Healthline about how Governor Brown’s revised budget maintains cuts to certain children’s health programs.  She stated, “Even though the state is financially better off right now, there were some programs that didn't get restored. Now that we're doing much better, we have the resources to fund these things."  Children Now released a budget analysis highlighting programs that would benefit from additional funding, including Medi-Cal provider rate cuts, the Early Mental Health Initiative, and the Black Infant Health Program.

  • KidsWell CA Grantees Advocate for Increased Children’s Health Funding in CA Budget

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    CA: On behalf of Children Now, the Children’s Defense Fund-CA (CDF-CA), PICO California, and other children’s health advocacy organizations in California, Wendy Lazarus, founder and co-president of The Children’s Partnership (TCP), issued a statement criticizing Governor Brown’s 2014-2015 budget proposal for not allocating sufficient resources to ensure children’s health.  Though Lazarus acknowledges the inclusion of $17.5 million for pediatric dental services outreach, the statement emphasizes the need to increase funding to: bolster Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates; strengthen access to care; and restore programs for high-risk infants and preventive dental and mental health services.  As reported by The Sacramento Bee, Michelle Stillwell-Parvensky, a policy and communications associate for CDF-CA, and Corey Timpson, executive director of PICO California, also issued statements advocating for increased funding for children’s health.
  • KidsWell California Released Statement in Response to Budget Omitting Autism Services for Children

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    CA: The Children’s Defense Fund – California, The Children’s Partnership, and Children Now released a statement in response to the budget deal reached by Governor Brown and the legislature which failed to include $50 million in funding for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services for children with autism in Medi-Cal. The advocates stated that, due to the decision, hundreds of children with autism will lose access to needed services. “… at a time when the state’s fiscal outlook is improving, it is unjust to pass a budget that continues to deprive children of medically necessary care and causes serious harm to children with autism and their families,” said Jamila Iris Edwards, Northern California Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California. “The State has broken its promise that no child would lose access to critical health care in the Healthy Families transition. The Governor and Legislature must act quickly to remedy the current situation and ensure these children get the services they need to grow up healthy and ready to learn,”.
  • Action Alert! CDF-CA Calls For Action To Urge Legislators to Protect Coverage for California Children

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    CA: The Children’s Defense Fund – California released a call to action requesting individuals to contact California state legislators and urge them to pass budget proposals that will protect the health care safety net for uninsured children and families, expand Medi-Cal for former foster youth, and provide needed services to autistic children enrolled in Medi-Cal. CDF-CA also provided example tweets for individuals post on Twitter.
  • Children Now and CDF Submit Letter in Support of Bills Currently Under Review to Expand Medicaid and Child Coverage Protections

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    CA: Children Now and the Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA), in collaboration with The Children’s Movement of California, submitted a letter to the Governor and legislators expressing their support for multiple bills under consideration to implement provisions of the ACA that would benefit children, including:

    • ABX1 1/SBX1 1 would expand Medicaid to low-income adults and former foster kids up to age 26.
    • ABX1 2/SBX1 2 would implement reforms to prohibit private plans from prohibiting coverage or increasing premiums due to pre-existing conditions.
  • KidsWell Grantees Give California Health Department a C-Minus on Moving Kids to Medi-Cal

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    CA: The KidsWell California Grantees submitted a letter to Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator of CMS and Director of CMCS, providing a status report on the state’s progress and concerns they have on the transition of beneficiaries from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal. In a press release the grantees gave the California Department of Health Care Services a report card of a C-minus on the progress of the transition. Jenny Kattlove of The Children’s Partnership was featured in a article on her research on the Denti-Cal program and the possible dental crisis when an estimated one million children enroll in the program in 2014.
  • Better that Budget! KidsWell California Asked Governor Brown to Allocate More Money in the State Budget to Improving Kids' Health Care

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    CA: In response to Governor Brown’s state budget proposal, California KidsWell Grantees issued a statement urging the governor and state legislature to continue to devote funds to address health care needs of California children. The grantees specifically requested that the state allocate revenue to work towards improving health care for children and to preserve a basic health care safety net for individuals who remain uninsured.
  • CDF-CA Posted a List of State Health Legislation That was Signed or Vetoed by Governor Brown

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    CA: Children’s Defense Fund, California (CDF-CA) posted a list of state health legislation that was signed or vetoed by Governor Brown. Signed legislation included: establishing the state's Essential Health Benefits Package; providing coverage for low-income pregnant women age 18 or below to receive coverage under the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program; the development of mechanisms to avoid gaps in health coverage; and requirements for the California Health & Human Services Agency to establish a single application form for state health subsidy programs.
  • KidsWell California Partners Issued a Statement of Disappointment in Response to the Legislative Session's Lack of Action Regarding the Healthy Families Transition

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    CA: The Children's Partnership, Children Now, CDF-CA, California Coverage & Health Initiatives, PICO California and United Ways of California issued a statement of disappointment in response to the close of California’s legislative session stating that it was “a missed opportunity to secure the $200 million in desperately needed revenues from the Managed Care Organization (MCO) assessment and to delay or stop the pending transition of children from the Healthy Families Program [California’s Children’s Health Insurance Program] to Medi-Cal [California’s Medicaid Program].”
  • KidsWell California Partners Published a List of Priority Bills to Advocate for Successful Implementation of the ACA

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    CA:  The Children’s Defense Fund – California (CDF-CA), in partnership with 100% Campaign, published a list of priority bills from the 2012 California legislative session to advocate for successful implementation of the ACA and will hold two informational webinars on October 1st and October 2nd.

  • KidsWell California Announced Support for Bright Line Alternative

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    Forty National and California advocates including Children Now, PICO California, The Children's Partnership, and the Children's Defense Fund - CA issued a statement to Governor Brown in support of the "Bright-Line" alternative to the children's health budget proposal. This alternative option would only transfer "Bright Line" children with family incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
  • KidsWell California Partners Advocated to Protect Healthy Families Program

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    California KidsWell advocates were actively engaged in responding to Governor Jerry Brown’s May budget proposal which would eliminate Healthy Families, California’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, and transfer it’s beneficiaries into Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Advocates raise concerns that the transfer of nearly 900,000 kids into Medi-Cal would create a physician shortage due to the decreasing number of physicians accepting Medi-Cal patients. Advocacy included: (1) postings on the Children’s Defense Fund-CA’s (CDF-CA) Children’s State Budget Watch website; (2) a report released by Children Now, Revised State Budget Sells Kids Short; (3) an article in the California Progress Report written by Mike Odeh of Children Now and Michele Stillwell-Parvensky of CDF-CA; and (4) an article in La Opinion featuring Michelle Stillwell of CDF-CA.

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