A huge heartfelt thank you to the Assembly and Senate for continuing to stand with California’s deaf and hard of hearing children and including the hearing aid program in their budget and sending it on to Governor Newsom for his signature.
Today, the Senate and Assembly voted to include the Governor’s January proposal to establish a program that provides hearing aids and related services to children up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. The main budget bill which passed today (SB 74) includes $1 million for DHCS to make necessary system changes this budget year in order to implement the program for families beginning July 1, 2021. It assumes that there will be $10 million in the General Fund in ongoing annual costs beginning in 2021-22.
The legislature sent the Governor SB 74 tonight, and there are additional negotiations between now and the deadline by which he must sign the bill, July 1st. We will remain vigilant to ensure there are no subsequent changes to this vital program before the Governor signs the final set of bills.
With hearing aids, California’s children regardless of their background or socioeconomic status will have an opportunity at a bright future. With hearing aids, a baby aided by six months of age can develop the same rate as their hearing peers; a toddler will hear their loved ones talk, read, and sing to them to lay the foundation for their brain development; and school aged children can attend school and now classes held online. We are hopeful that Governor Gavin Newsom will keep California’s deaf and hard of hearing children in his heart when finalizing the state budget. #LetCAKidsHear