Hands holding baby feet

CA LAUNCH Approach

Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) is designed to promote the wellness of young children ages birth to 8 by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of development. LAUNCH is grounded in a public health approach, with the goals of supporting infrastructures needed to improve coordination across child-serving systems and increase access to high-quality prevention and wellness promotion services for very young children and their families. California LAUNCH funding was awarded to the California Department of Public Health, working in partnership with the WestEd Center for Prevention and Early Intervention, Alameda County Public Health Maternal, Paternal, Child and Adolescent Health, and First 5 Alameda County. Three counties (Fresno, Nevada, and San Francisco) are implementing successful strategies focused on family support and engagement and the infusion of mental health consultation into home visiting programs that were developed in the original Project LAUNCH to Alameda County.

Although Fresno, Nevada, and San Francisco counties have been identified as expansion sites, materials created to support the replication and needed adaptations of successful LAUNCH strategies will be shared with all counties via this website.

LAUNCH Overview

  • Replicates what works in three new communities via training and technical assistance model
  • Integrates systems to address the unmet needs for children’s health and well-being
  • Focuses on children, families, and communities that are at high risk of trauma
  • Promotes wellness, prevents mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, and supports early detection and referral to needed resources

See more details about Project LAUNCH over here

Three LAUNCH Strategies

LAUNCH pursues goals by implementing three strategies:

  • Integrating mental health consultation into home visiting programs
  • Utilizing Family Cafes to strengthen families
  • Integrating early childhood systems at both the local and state levels to promote identification, referral, access to and engagement with needed resources

Expansion Communities

We have successfully concluded Project LAUNCH activities with the three expansion sites.

The goal of the California Project LAUNCH expansion program is to replicate Alameda County successes in three counties, while honoring the difference in each county. In the three expansion counties, there are slightly different foci of the work to provide mental health consultation to home visiting programs and family support services using the Café approach. These include the type of home visiting program targeted, the types and levels of collaboration with other community organizations and county departments, and the range of funding being used to support services. Some brief highlights of each county program are provided in the following paragraphs.

Fresno County

The Fresno County Department of Maternal Child and Adolescent Health provides oversight for the implementation of CA Project LAUNCH. The department will focus their efforts on providing mental health consultation to several home-based and group intervention programs. The MCAH Department is collaborating with their local Behavioral Health Care system to provide mental health services to parents served by home visiting staff. A referral algorithm was developed to alert staff to the indicators leading to maternal depression screening and referral to a mental health clinician.

County Lead: Rose Mary Rahn, BSN, RN, PHN
Director of Public Health Nursing, MCAH Director
(560) 600-6340

Nevada County

Nevada County is implementing CA Project LAUNCH as part of a local community collaborative.  The Nevada County Public Health Department, First 5 of Nevada County, and Foothills/Truckee Healthy Babies are collaborating closely to serve families in both western and eastern Nevada County.  The project will utilize three strategies:  family cafés, mental health support for home visitors and their clients, and an assessment of mental health services for families to identify strengths and challenges then address gaps. 

County Lead: Cindy Wilson, MS, RN, PHN, IBCLC
Nevada County Public Health Department
Director of Public Health Nursing
(530) 265-7269

San Francisco County

San Francisco County has embedded the implementation of CA Project LAUNCH into a countywide collaborative that focuses on Healthy Communities Together. San Francisco County is looking at the root causes of health inequities, social determinants of health, a life course approach and community identified health problems. Project LAUNCH will fund a part time mental health clinician that focuses on parents and children referred to the SF Nurse Family Partnership through Cal Works and Project 500.

County Lead: Diane Beetham, MSN, RN, PHN
Director of Public Health Nursing
San Francisco Department of Public Health
Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Section
(415) 575-5732


The California Department of Public Health, MCAH Maternal Home Visiting Program, the WestEd Center for Prevention and Early Intervention, Alameda County Public Health Maternal, Paternal, Child and Adolescent Health and First 5 Alameda County are all responsible for working as a team to provide technical assistance and training to the expansion communities to successfully implement the three LAUNCH strategies. The project will be evaluated for success throughout the four years.

Meet Our CA Project Launch Team Here

Project Activities

  • Community needs assessments
  • Community-specific plans to implement the three strategies
  • Ongoing training and technical assistance by strategy experts
  • Throughout the project, policy briefs, tools and other resources will be shared with all counties through communities of practice

Expansion Council

The California Systems Integration Team, Home Visiting Workgroup (SIT-HV), where barriers faced in communities will be considered and addressed, acts as the Expansion Council. For more details about the SIT-HV’s role see the Systems Integration section of this website.

Happy baby girl playing with toys in playroom


LAUNCH Program Background & Overview In 2008 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded 55 sites, including California, to promote the wellness of young children (birth to eight) and reduce the impact of adverse life circumstances by improving coordination and collaboration across the systems that serve young children and their families. In 2015, SAMHSA funded five of the original 55 sites to replicate innovative and promising practices that came out of original LAUNCH efforts. California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) branch was one of the five sites selected to replicate three of its successful strategies to promote the health and wellness of children 0-8, their families and their communities. A briefing sheet about California LAUNCH is available for download here in pdf format.

LAUNCH CA Profile Sheet 2017

A briefing sheet about the federal LAUNCH Program is available in pdf format at the following website:

For additional information about the LAUNCH Program and the states funded to develop LAUNCH services, go to:


California LAUNCH Expansion Evaluation

California LAUNCH expansion provides funding, technical assistance and support to expand Project LAUNCH strategies originally carried out in Alameda County in 2010-2014 to three additional counties: Fresno, Nevada, and San Francisco. The California LAUNCH expansion evaluation will examine outcomes related to the LAUNCH strategies: (1) the integration of mental health consultation and supports into existing public health home visiting programs; (2) increased parent engagement through new Family Cafes in targeted communities; (3) systems integration improvements to address children and families’ behavioral health needs. The current evaluation includes structured approaches to gathering information about program implementation and impact, and will collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to report on outcomes for service providers, parents, and participating agencies. Evaluation activities include: surveys and focus groups with home visiting program staff and family members, surveys for participants in Family Cafes, and structured interviews for agency administrators and key stakeholders.


California Project LAUNCH Annual Evaluation Reports

This evaluation report describes the implementation of the strategies in the expansion communities, and presents findings around process, systems, provider and family outcomes.

The Project LAUNCH Evaluation Report for the third year of funding between October 1, 2017–September 30, 2018) is here

The Project LAUNCH Cumulative Evaluation FINAL Report is located here