I. General Information

It is recommended that you carefully review the entire announcement and application requirements before submitting your application package. Failure to adhere to the provided instructions may result in your application not being considered. If you have any additional questions, please email  First5OC@cfcoc.ocgov.com

Welcome to First 5 Orange County’s Doula Stipend Application. Our Stipend Program provides financial assistance to selected applicants as they pursue Medi-Cal provider status in alignment with the Department of Health Care Services' recently released Doula Benefit. Please note that submitting this application does not guarantee acceptance into the program. 
First 5 Orange County launched the Doula Stipend Program to support our local efforts to increase utilization of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) doula benefit. This benefit has been in effect since January 2023 and is aimed at addressing maternal health disparities among the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community.

First 5 OC has worked in partnership with CalOptima, diverse stakeholders, and doulas to understand and identify strategies that will assist Doulas and families in the utilization of the Medi-Cal benefit. Throughout the partnership, discussions raised a consistent theme of administrative and financial barriers for doulas enrolling in the required DHCS (Provider Application and Validation for Enrollment (PAVE) portal. The PAVE portal is the entry point for the enrollment process for healthcare providers like doulas in the Medi-Cal system. PAVE is intended to simplify credentialing and payment submissions, and provides access to Medi-Cal beneficiaries, allowing doulas to offer their services to a broader population within the Medi-Cal network. 

First 5 Orange County expects that 40 doulas will benefit from this stipend program and numerous babies and families will benefit over the coming years from Doula services. The application will remain open until all funding is expended. 

Please check the appendix located at the end of the document for copies of the required forms.
Stipend Disbursement Information

Please note that the stipend will be disbursed in the following intervals after meeting the specified requirements.
First Stipend Payment of $500 
  1. Submittal of doula stipend program application and selection to participate in the First 5 Doula Stipend program 
  2. Completed W9 form  
  3. Completed Stipend Acknowledgment Form
Second Stipend Payment $500                                                                                                         
  1. Completion of enrollment in the Department of Health Care Services PAVE Portal
  2. Participation in one of the evaluation efforts of the stipend program. This can be a survey, focus groups, or interviews. 
  3. Completion of one of the following community outreach actions:
    • Five mentorship hours with completed mentorship form
    • Facilitation of a presentation aimed at increasing doula awareness with submission of completed presentation form 
Proof of Eligibility
  • Upload a copy of your birth certificate or a valid California Driver’s License
    • Must be 18 years of age at time of application (or older)
  • Upload proof of meeting training or experienced pathway
    • These are the minimum requirements that must be met listed by the Department of Health Care Services to become a Medi-Cal Doula. We advise you to read them thoroughly, as you must meet either the training or experience pathway as a basic requirement to participate in the stipend program.
Requirements for Training Pathway
  • Completion of training Certificate or Class syllabus that must include the following topics and be a minimum of 16 total hours.
    • Lactation support;
    • Childbirth education;
    • Foundations on anatomy of pregnancy and childbirth;
    • Nonmedical comfort measures, prenatal support, and labor support techniques; and
    • Developing a community resource list
  • Completion of providing support at three births in the capacity of a birth doula.
Requirements for Experience Pathway
  • Acknowledgement of providing services in the capacity of a doula in either a paid or volunteer capacity for at least five years. The five years of experience in the capacity as a doula must have occurred within the last seven years from the date the application is submitted.
  • Three written client testimonial letters or professional letters of recommendation using the testimonial templates provided within this regulatory provider bulletin from any of the following: a physician, licensed behavioral health provider, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, licensed midwife, enrolled doula, or community-based organization. Letters must be written within the last seven years. One letter must be from either a licensed provider, a community-based organization, or an enrolled doula.