We’re thrilled to release our first paper today, along with California Children’s Trust, discussing how the Medi-Cal system can best support young children as they grow up. The system proposed by the paper, "Whole Family Wellness for Early Childhood: A New Model for Medi-Cal Delivery and Financing," is predicated on the notion that children need supportive families, caregivers, and communities to truly thrive:
“Child wellbeing is strengthened when caregivers are healthy and possess protective factors, including parental resilience, social connections, access to basic necessities, and resources to address mental health and substance use issues. These requisite needs are sorely missing for too many parents and their young children and, in some cases, they have been taken from families through systemic and pervasive inequities and discrimination. Supporting the healthy development of young children necessitates supporting their parents’ ability to provide adequate care. Effective funding and delivery of children’s services must involve a whole-family wellness approach that includes systematic attention to the parents’ wellbeing and psychological needs; remedies to sources of discrimination; and the fostering of dignity, love, and healing within the context of empowered communities.”
To get to this kind of support, the paper proposes a new model of care, the Whole-Family Wellness Hub-and-Spoke Model, which would recognize the importance of early prevention, identification, and support to mitigate adversity, and bolster protective factors and family resilience:
“Providers would include community-based organizations, county-operated clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and primary care practices, working together to provide peer support and age-appropriate models for attachment and bonding (Hubs), as well as resources to address broader social needs (Spokes). This family-centered model of care and parenting support is preventive, need-based, and therapeutic; it focuses on supporting children and families in community settings that build social connections and directly address the social determinants of health. The model would be financed by accessing and leveraging multiple sources of funding (e.g., Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment [EPSDT], Realignment, Mental Health Services Act [MHSA] dollars).”
We hope you’ll read the full paper—or at least check out the executive summary.