Leaders from Around the State Call for Action on Childhood Adversity
Nov 18, 2015
San Francisco, CA -- Leaders from healthcare, education, child welfare and juvenile justice sectors today announced a statewide action plan to address childhood adversity, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, and create lasting change for the state’s children and families.
“Every child deserves the chance at a healthy and successful future,” said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness. “What happens to young children today affects all of us tomorrow. From pediatricians and school principals to social workers and probation officers, innovative professionals across California are pioneering solutions to prevent, identify and heal the effects of childhood adversity. Now is the time to scale up these solutions on a statewide level.”
“Being smart on crime starts with ensuring our most vulnerable children can recover from trauma and violence in their homes and communities,” said California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “All systems that interact with children and families — from the pediatrician’s and social worker’s offices to the classroom — must be held accountable for addressing childhood trauma. Our Bureau of Children’s Justice is proud to work with the Center for Youth Wellness and other partners across the state to give every child the opportunity to thrive.”
The impact of childhood adversity and trauma—such as physical and emotional abuse or neglect, or mental illness, addiction or incarceration of a parent or close family member—can last through adulthood. Children exposed to adversity are at higher risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, learning difficulties in school, contact with the justice system, as well as addiction and economic hardship. The crisis crosses socio-economic, racial and geographic lines, straining the state’s systems and resources. Led by Center for Youth Wellness, nearly 20 organizations representing different sectors and regions developed a seven-part action plan to turn around this crisis. The action plan calls on systems leaders, professionals and policymakers to:
- Ensure that all child and family-serving systems integrate trauma-informed approaches.
- Advocate for policies, institutional practices, and programs that help treat the root causes of childhood adversity, such as poverty.
- Promote ways to identify when a child is exposed to or suffering from the effects of childhood adversity, and ensure that children have access to interventions that help with healing.
- Increase funding for and access to evidence-based or promising interventions that help children heal from childhood adversity and trauma.
- Recruit and train a diverse workforce.
- Adopt professional licensing and certification standards for child- and family-serving professionals that include competency on trauma-informed approaches, such as recognizing symptoms of trauma and ways to help with healing.
- And, raise public awareness about childhood adversity.
A 2014 report by the Center for Youth Wellness and Public Health Institute found that Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse, neglect or household dysfunction, impact Californians from all walks of life and touch every community in the state, from rural counties to urban centers. The study found that 61 percent of Californians were exposed to one or more types of ACEs, with one in six experienced four or more adverse experiences.
About Center for Youth Wellness The Center for Youth Wellness is part of a national effort to revolutionize pediatric medicine and transform the way society responds to kids exposed to significant adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress.
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