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Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division

MCAH Program Overview

Every stage of life sets a foundation, and the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division provides services each step of the way—from pregnancy to motherhood, infancy to childhood, adolescent to adult—to improve the health and well-being of families across California. We offer an array of programs and initiatives that serve our state’s diverse populations, providing proactive interventions, resources, information and data about health and social topics such as reproductive health, pregnancy, child health, health equity and more. At MCAH, we aim to better lives emotionally, physically and socially for current and future generations.

Mission and Strategies

The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division (MCAH) supports the vision of the Center for Family Health by implementing strategies to improve health, support the development of children and adolescents, and foster health, well-being and equity across the reproductive life course.

MCAH uses the following strategies to carry out our mission:

Mission 1

Build strong partnerships at the local, state and national levels to coordinate systems of care, and improve access to care and delivery of health services.

Mission 1

Fund and administer programs and initiatives to address disparities and improve maternal, child and adolescent health outcomes.

Mission 1

Empower and educate individuals of reproductive age so they may achieve their reproductive health goals and maintain optimal health.

Mission 1

Collect, analyze and monitor data to identify challenges and discover successes in the implementation of public health interventions.


MCAH is one of three Divisions in the Center for Family Health in the California Department of Public Health. MCAH strengthens the capacity of Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs), communities and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children and adolescents throughout the state. Many programs and initiatives serve California's diverse populations and regions, providing resources, information and data for physical, emotional, mental and social health. California maternal, child and adolescent public health priorities are continuously assessed and formally re-established every five years through a federally mandated, comprehensive statewide needs assessment process conducted in close collaboration with LHJs, CBOs and other stakeholders. Our role is to promote policy, systems and environmental change to ensure that making the healthy choice is the easy choice for families.

​Programs and Services

MCAH is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of experts focused on an array of efforts to monitor and improve the health and well-being of California’s women and families:

Maternal Health strives to ensure every woman in California can experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Our programs encourage ongoing education, self-sufficiency, healthy life choices, and mental and physical wellness during pregnancy. These programs include:

Child Health strives to improve the cognitive, physical and emotional development of all children. Regular developmental surveillance and screening (as recommended by Bright Futures) will identify those children needing early intervention services; provision of services as early as possible will improve their developmental outcomes.

Adolescent Health provides a range of services aimed at addressing the health of young people. These programs are:

Watch our Stories:
Storytelling brings public programs to life, and MCAH stories show our programs' positive effects on women, children, families and communities. See what some MCAH program participants have to say about the impact these MCAH programs have had on their lives—and their families' futures:

Statewide Operations

From our hub in Sacramento, MCAH work is being done on behalf of and in support of families through counties, cities and community-based organizations that provide direct services at the local level. MCAH funds and administers programs in all local health jurisdictions to ensure targeted populations can access needed services in their communities. In addition, MCAH provides statewide support beyond funding and administration, to include technical assistance, education and outreach resources, training and much more.

Legal Authority

Health & Safety (H&S) Code sections 103825 , 123225-123255 , 123475-123525 , 123550 , 123650-123655 , 123725-123745 , 124175 , 125118-125119.5 , & Welfare and Institutions Code sections 10725 , 14105 , 14124.5  and 14504 (a-e) .

Major Funding Sources and Administration

The MCAH Division administers the Federal Title V MCH Block Grant; the Birth Defects Monitoring Special Fund; General Fund; Federal Title XIX Medicaid reimbursements; California Personal Responsibility Education Program (CA PREP) Federal Grant; Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Federal Grant; and the Office of Adolescent Health Expectant and Parenting Teens, Women, Fathers and their Families Federal Grant.

Using current statistics and surveillance data, MCAH continuously assesses the health and well-being of California's infants, children and families to identify priority issues, evaluate the impact of its programs and inform program design. MCAH data is shared with partners and stakeholders via a variety of formats, including a comprehensive website, scientific presentations, in-depth reports and data briefs on topics such as maternal depression. Reporting on and planning for priority issues, evaluation and program design are part of a statewide needs assessment completed every five years for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. Some of the individual surveillance efforts include:

Division Organization

 MCAH Organization Chart (PDF)

Contact Information

Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division
1615 Capitol Ave., Building 173
Sacramento, CA  95814
(916) 650-0300

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