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Counties spend only 4% of available CPP funds

Last updated on September 10, 2023

Update: See also the FY2020-21 and FY2021-22 analyses.

California counties are able to spend up to 5% of their annual MHSA allocated dollars towards ensuring a comprehensive array of Community Program Planning (CPP) processes are in place to ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement throughout the entire year.

Only 4% of an available $104m is spent by one-half of California counties on local CPP processes. The remaining half of counties, representing nearly two-thirds of California’s residents, are missing an opportunity to put 96% of available CPP funds to use. Why is that?

I have interacted with other advisory board members from other counties across California and from my understanding having been trained on the topic several times, it is clear mental health services in many counties shirk their responsibilities in deploying an effective CPP in accordance with the MHSA.

That isn’t to suggest county behavioral- or mental-health systems aren’t meaningfully engaging stakeholders, because many do this engagement using a variety of means like annual forums, monthly committees or councils, focus groups, or internal dialog with other county entities such as their public safety departments.

What it does suggest however is that mental health Advisory Boards are not interacting with county BHS departments to establish the process of reviewing and approving an annual CPP, which includes how the county will engage stakeholders, as well as budgeting internal staff time, staff dedicated to Advisory Board work, funds for training Advisory Board members and other stakeholders, as well as what metrics will be used to ensure a successful CPP for the previous year.

In order to determine how pervasive of an issue with counties are using their CPP available budgets might be, I summarized a review of the latest Revenue and Expenditure Report (RER)’s and created the attached report.

I learned a few things:

  1. Of California’s 58 counties and two other areas (Berkeley and Tri-City areas) reporting RER’s to MHSOAC, only 28 or about one-half report any CPP expenditures.
  2. These areas that do report any CPP budget represent 34% of California’s population.
  3. Counties could be spending over $104m yet, the amount spent by those 28 counties equates to our spending only 4% of that amount.

I hope this illustrates an elephant in the room in that there are chronic systemic policy issues in regards to our MHSA Community Program Planning (CPP) processes.

By all appearances it appears as if, for at least the 31 counties not reporting a CPP expenditure, which serve nearly two-thirds of our state’s population, may not be following the mandated process of gaining their advisory board’s review and approval of their annual CPP, and are not spending any of the 96% of the available budget.

Why is that?

Here’s the breakdown:

California Population (2019)          39,283,497
Number of Counties and MHSAOC Areas59
Number of Counties with CPP Budget28
Number of Residents in CPP Counties          13,444,19334%
Number of Counties without CPP Budget31
Population in Counties without CPP Budget          25,839,30466%
Estimated MHSA Expenditure $ 2,083,000,000
Approximate Available Budget (5%) $     104,150,000
Amount Budgeted by Counties $         4,128,3594%
Amount Unallocated by Counties $     100,021,64196%

Here’s the summary report:

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MHSOAC Documents & Reports | Revenue & Expenditure Report (RER)
DHCS MHSA Expenditure Report FY2018-19 (p1) FY2018-19 estimated MHSA annual expenditures
US CENSUS 2019 Estimated Population by county and rank

Thanks for the pic Christina Wocintechchat @ Unsplash!

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