SB 1353 (Wahab) The Youth Bill of Rights – Support

June 3, 2024

The Honorable Kevin McCarty
Chair, Assembly Public Safety
1020 N Street, Room 111
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 1353 (Wahab) Youth Bill of Rights Mental Health Resources – SUPPORT

Dear Chair McCarty,

The California Youth Empowerment Network (CAYEN) is pleased to support Senate Bill 1353 (Wahab), legislation which would establish youth rights to timely access to mental and behavioral health services.

CAYEN is led by Transition Aged Youth (TAY), ages 15 to 26, comprising of TAY Action Teams and CAYEN Board members throughout California, which engages and empowers TAY to advocate for mental health policy that directly affects them. Since our establishment in 2006, our youth have persistently campaigned for enhanced accessibility to mental health services and support for all TAY, as well as the promotion of civil rights, restorative justice, and harm reduction practices to mitigate substance misuse among youth. Additionally, we strive to enhance and amplify the representation of TAY voices in the decision-making processes. 

Timely access to mental and behavioral health services are one of the barriers preventing youth from receiving the care they want. Given that 75% of all mental health disorders emerge by age 24 access to services and supports are vital to a youth’s development.[1] This is extremely prevalent among justice-involved youth, specifically youth of color, as they have the highest prevalence of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and the least likely to be offered services until they experience a crisis. SB 1353 empowers youth by adding to the Youth Bill of Rights the right to timely access to these services, including access to counselors, therapists, mentors, or any related services necessary for mental well-being. Addressing mental health issues will also support these youth in leading whole, healthy, and productive lives reducing recidivism.

For these reasons, we support SB 1353 (Wahab) and ask for your “Aye” vote. If you have any questions, or if CAYEN can provide assistance on this bill or any other behavioral health legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me at

In Community,

Danny Thirakul
Public Policy Coordinator
California Youth Empowerment Network

[1] California, S. of. (2024, March 21). Early psychosis intervention plus. MHSOAC.