In May, Young Minds Advocacy wrote to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) requesting action to end the prohibition on providing intensive community-based mental healthcare to as many as 15,000 low-income youth in need throughout the state. In a response received yesterday, DHCS agreed with Young Minds’ assertion that these services, also known as Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) and Intensive Home Based Services (IHBS), must be “provided to all beneficiaries under age 21 who are eligible for full scope Medi-Cal services and who meet medical necessity criteria for those services.” Furthermore, the Department said it will clarify to county Mental Health Plans (MHPs) that membership in the ‘Katie A. Subclass’, whose members include foster youth or youth at-risk of out of home placement with open children welfare cases, is not a prerequisite for receiving these services.
This means that thousands of low-income youth in California can no longer be denied intensive mental health services that could help them to live and thrive in their own home and communities, simply because they aren’t in foster care. It also represents a large step forward in Young Minds’ efforts to achieve the full potential of the landmark case Katie A. v. Bonta, and improve access to quality mental healthcare for all youth in California.
We applaud the state for taking action to come into compliance with federal law and to meet its obligations to youth and families in need. We look forward to working with them on drafting an Informational Notice that implements this policy change. Stay tuned.