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SLO County Health Access Update

Connecting Children Ages 0-5 & Their Families to Health Care

November 2023

Information and articles from these newsletters are housed on the San Luis Obispo County Health Access website. The website is updated frequently and is intended as a resource for professionals working with children ages 0-5 and their families.

Please visit: SLOHealthAccess.org.

To view this newsletter in your browser click here.

3 Top Takeaways on Trauma and Immigrant Families

In October, 120 providers convened in San Luis Obispo to learn more about working with immigrant families. Here are three key takeaways from Dr. Susana López's presentation on trauma:


1. Trauma can take place before migration, during migration, and after migration. Dr. López reminded us that many immigrants feel they have no choice but to come to the U.S. due to traumatic events, and even those who choose to migrate may experience trauma while moving or in their new home.


2. Trauma can show up in a lot of different ways. Both adults and children might struggle with planning and carrying out tasks, be very emotionally reactive, act very 'shut down,' or be anxious.


3. We can help by:

  • Recognizing that many immigrant families have exposure to trauma and violence
  • De-stigmatizing both trauma and immigration, and providing culturally-appropriate support at the moment.
  • Adding a focus on resilience and thriving. Healthy functioning and healthy relationships can heal trauma. Immigrant residents' skills, family and community support, cultural beliefs, and hopes for the future are a cultural wealth to draw from during trauma recovery.

Finding a Mental Health Provider

CenCal Health: Medi-Cal members can contact CenCal Health directly to find a mental health provider who accepts Medi-Cal: (877) 814-1861. CenCal Health staff will conduct a screening and then provide three options of providers who they believe to have openings. Members can call back for more provider names as needed.


If a member has tried to find a provider but cannot, CenCal Health's Navigation staff can outreach to providers for the member and work with them to find a provider. Members can request this service through the main call center number: (877) 814-1861.

Private Insurance: Families with private insurance can contact their insurance company for a list of mental health providers who accept their insurance. The Psychology Today website is also a useful place to search for providers, as searches can be done by location and by type of insurance accepted.


Community Counseling Center: Short-term counseling for adults and children ages 5 and up with mild to moderate mental health issues and no insurance, Medi-Cal, or under-insured (low income and can't afford their insurance costs). Sliding scale based on income; free for Medi-Cal members. More information here. Call (805) 543-7969 for a brief eligibility screening.


Lumina Alliance: For children ages 5 and up with exposure to family violence and sexual assault. The wait is not long right now for English-speaking therapists; no Spanish-speaking capacity right now. Call the info/hotline at (805) 545-8888 for an assessment and services.


Tips for Therapy With a Young Child: If a client is looking for a mental health therapist for a child ages 0-5, download this handout for information on how to tell if a therapist is qualified to work with young children and a good fit. It also includes mental health resources.

New and Improved Local Resources!

The SLO Noor Foundation's new Paso Robles Free Medical Health Clinic is open on Wednesdays at 400 Oak Hill Road. To make an appointment, call (805) 439-1797. More information here.


The SLO Food Bank's Funds for Food webpage has clear explanations of CalFresh, PEBT, and WIC food benefits. Funds for Food - SLO Food Bank. A list of all distributions and partner pantries is also available at Food Locator - SLO Food Bank.


First 5 SLO County's Community Happenings webpage is a comprehensive listing of local activities for children ages 0-5 and their families. Many activities are free. If you have families whose children need more social interaction, there are many ideas here!

Community Happenings | First 5 SLO County


If you have clients whose children have special needs, they need to know about Parents Helping Parents. Parents Helping Parents is awash in useful, timely workshops for parents in all sorts of situations, from children's behavior issues to school district IEP support to help accessing financial resources. Check out their many offerings and additional resources in English and Spanish: Parents Helping Parents Family Resource Center


Back to Basics - Child Preventive Health Care

Last year in the fall, we heard from many providers that parents/guardians were no longer accustomed to taking their child to important medical and dental appointments and even out to play with other children. We are still hearing this, so we are bringing back the Back to Basics Checklist.


Print this checklist to remind parents/guardians of the critical activities that they should be providing for their young child. You can also use it as a discussion and handout for parents, making notes about accessing supports like transportation or about appointment dates. Key local resources and simple messages are included on the checklist.

Local health referral information at SLOHealthAccess.org
SLOHealthAccess.org has a wealth of information to help you help families, with local resources related to:
  • Practical Resources for Basic Needs
  • Behavioral Health
  • Immigration: safety and service access  
  • Dental
  • Prescriptions
  • Medi-Cal & Covered CA
  • Transportation
  • Special Needs   
  • Parental Substance Use, and 
  • Resources to help parents advocate for services

General needs and system navigation:
Send families in need of help to their local Family Resource Center.

Can't find an answer? 
Let us know and we will find you the information you are looking for. For general questions about health access and health care reform, contact:
Becca Carsel, Health Access Project Director, 
at (805) 674-0776 or becca@carselgroup.com