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CCAPP Moves SUD Counselors Into Behavioral Health Workforce “Mega-Budget Proposal”

On June 8th, the California Legislature amended its budget bill to include over

$200 million in additional funding to address the state’s critical behavioral health workforce shortages, bringing the total investment to over $400 million, with $26 million already earmarked for substance use disorder workforce expansion.

“CCAPP was the only certifying organization at the table fighting for workforce dollars in the budget for SUD counselors and registrants,” said CCAPP President and CEO Pete Nielsen.

“We were 100% successful in ensuring that our workforce has parity in funding for SUD focused professionals and we could not be more pleased with the resources and depth of understanding about capacity issues the Legislature has shown in this year’s budget,” said Nielsen.

The behavioral workforce augmentation budget deal includes the following items:

  • $100 million to create a public behavioral health pipeline that reflects the diversity of California’s low-income and underserved communities through establishing partnerships between the public behavioral health delivery system with high schools and community colleges.

  • $500,000 one-time competitive grant to conduct a statewide LGBTQ affirming training for licensed and certified alcohol and drug treatment programs.

  • $5 million ($1 million per year for 5 years) to provide specialized training for non-native English speakers to improve charting and documentation skills.

  • $3.6 million to add 1,200 SUD counselors through tuition assistance and test preparation.

  • $20 million for 200 paid internships and supervision of interns and supporting a pathway to licensure as a licensed advanced alcohol drug counselor.

  • $1 million over two years to fund stipends to cover costs related to testing and portfolio review for 3,000 registered alcohol drug technicians who are seeking registration or certification.

  • $10 million over 5 years for tuition reimbursement and stipends for licensed mental health and medical professionals to complete SUD-specific courses.

  • $50 million to fund 60-100 colleges/universities with high enrollment of students from underrepresented communities to develop a specialized curriculum focused on working in the public behavioral health delivery system, including a focus on substance use disorders.

CCAPP will continue to monitor budget bills to update members as they move to the Governor’s desk. CCAPP has already commenced meetings with the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) to provide input on effective ways to use these new resources.

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