The California Children’s Trust

Posted on April 8, 2019

A Coalition-based Approach to Improving Child and Youth Wellbeing

Given the complexity and cross-sectional nature of its work, ZFF’s Improving Human Service Systems (IHSS) program relies on alliance with other public and private funders, and it strongly encourages and supports partnership among community-based, base-building and advocacy organizations. One example of how we implement these strategies is The California Children’s Trust, a statewide coalition-based initiative to achieve health equity and healthy development for California’s children, youth and families.

Recognizing that an unacceptable and increasing number of children and youth are experiencing trauma, social-emotional challenges and mental illness, and that all child-serving systems and communities share a responsibility for children’s wellbeing, the Children’s Trust is reimaging how California defines, funds, administers and delivers children’s behavioral health supports and services. Guided by a diverse steering committee and three interdependent design teams, along with a growing coalition of hundreds of public, private and community partners, the Trust’s framework focuses on the following four strategic systemic solutions:

  • Advancing a commitment to health equity and justice
  • Ensuring quality, efficiency and integration
  • Increasing access to a broader scope of behavioral health supports and services
  • Maximizing funding for supports and services

As the founding investor in the Trust, ZFF has been joined by numerous other public and private funders. Additionally, strategic collaboration with various local and statewide organizations and initiatives has augmented the Trust’s steering committee and staff to document needs and community perspectives, analyze existing data, and begin to craft policy and procedural solutions. Critical partners have included service providers, advocates, base-building organizations and professional associations. However, hundreds of other advocates, health care professionals, directors of state and local public agencies and community-based organizations, youth, parents and funders continue to inform the iterative process to ensure that the Trust’s positions and recommendations reflect the perspectives and experiences of those most directly impacted by public systems and are actionable and administratively feasible.

ZFF is proud to support this growing statewide movement that brings together nontraditional, cross-sector partners in a collective effort to do better for California’s children, youth and families. For more information or to join the coalition, go to The Trust is a fiscally sponsored project of New Venture Fund.