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New Grants Build on Past Work to Promote System Changes for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Families

PALO ALTO – Four new grants from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health will support current grantees in building on their work to improve systems that serve children with special health care needs (CSHCN).

The grants will promote policy and program recommendations to enhance three key service systems for CSHCN: Medi-Cal, the California Children’s Services Program, and California’s Regional Centers. The funding also will leverage statewide partnerships in California, and help provide data on service disparities.

“These grantees have conducted foundational work in documenting system issues that need to be addressed to improve care for these children and their families,” said Holly Henry, the foundation’s director of its Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs. “Now we are taking the next steps by supporting grantees’ advocacy work to foster real change.”

The grants:

Oversight and Monitoring of the California Children’s Services Program
Grantee: National Health Law Program

Past grant funding to the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) supported an in-depth legal analysis that identified significant gaps in the structure of the California Children’s Services (CCS) program, which provides a range of services to children under age 21 with certain conditions. The next grant phase will address the gaps that NHeLP identified, including lack of oversight and monitoring of the CCS Program, deficient state-level policies, and challenges with the intersection between the CCS Program and Medi-Cal. The goal is to ensure that CCS operates as efficiently and equitably as possible for all children with eligible conditions.

Ensuring Effective Implementation of California’s Efforts to Reduce Regional Center Disparities
Grantee: Public Counsel

With foundation support, Public Counsel previously has documented long-standing inequities in support for children and families of color in California’s regional center system, which provides medical, therapeutic, and supportive services for children with developmental disabilities. In collaboration with partners across the state, Public Counsel has used its findings to advocate for systemic improvements in developmental disability services. With the new funds, Public Counsel will continue to press for policies that will require regional centers to take concrete steps to remedy racial, ethnic, and language disparities and to allocate regional center funding more equitably statewide.

Orange County Care Coordination Collaborative for Kids: Access to Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs – Supplement
Grantee: Children’s Hospital of Orange County Foundation

In 2019, Orange County transitioned children served by California Children’s Services (CCS), the state’s system of care for CSHCN, to Medi-Cal managed care organizations under a state initiative called the Whole Child Model (WCM). In its current grant phase, the Orange County Care Coordination Collaborative for Kids (OCC3 for Kids) and its stakeholders identified system navigation of the WCM as the primary challenge for parents and caregivers. The new funds will help complete and expand on OCC3 for Kids’ work to address system navigation issues to ease the path for families.

Designing the New Enhanced Care Management Benefit to Work for Kids in Medi-Cal
Grantee: Children Now

Children Now has successfully led advocacy efforts for family member representation in several state agencies. As the California Department of Health Care Services prepares to implement a Medi-Cal “Enhanced Care Management” (ECM) benefit for children and youth, Children Now will work to ensure that stakeholder input and family experiences inform the development of ECM policies. Children Now will coordinate with and organize child advocacy organizations across the state in an effort to strategically push for strong standards and protections for children with special health care needs, ensuring comprehensive, family- and youth-friendly care coordination policies, financial incentives, and clear oversight mechanisms.




The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health unlocks philanthropy to transform health for all children and families – in our community and our world. Support for this work was provided by the Foundation’s Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs. We invest in creating a more efficient system that ensures high-quality, coordinated, family-centered care to improve health outcomes for children and enhance quality of life for families. Learn more at