Join the #ChildrenCanThrive Campaign so all children grow up happy and healthy.

The #ChildrenCanThrive  campaign seeks to transform our response to the public health crisis of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their long term effects.

Join the #ChildrenCanThrive Campaign so all children grow up happy and healthy.

Policy & Advocacy

The Center for Youth Wellness supports policies that address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), prevent toxic stress, and promote healing for children, families and communities.

CYW publishes reports and shares short videos to raise the profile of ACEs and their health effects across sectors and among policymakers. We also staff the California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity (4CA) with Children Now and help implement 4CA's statewide policy agenda.

Active Legislation
In coordination with our partners, we advocate for relevant local, state and national policies and systems change so they reflect what we've learned from the science of ACEs and toxic stress and lessons from clinical practice. To request CYW feedback or endorsement of proposed legislation, contact To request expert testimony by a CYW staff member, contact or complete this interest form

We endorse:

  • Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families (S.774, H.R.1757), which would propagate trauma-informed practices across several systems and institutions, expand Medicaid coverage for child trauma services, and calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on ACEs and study trauma in the U.S.

In California, we support:

  • Mental Health Services for Low-Income Children (AB 340), so children are assessed for trauma as part of their routine health screening through Medicaid
  • Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use in Schools (SB 191), for coordinated mental health services in schools so children recover from traumatic experiences and are ready to learn again
  • The Bill of Rights for Children and Youth (SB 18), which would promote social and emotional skills, support parents, and otherwise buffer children from adversity and toxic stress


CYW Reports

Children Can Thrive: A Vision for California's Response to Adverse Childhood Experiences (policy report). This summary of CYW's first statewide summit on ACEs includes stories of how children affected by ACEs are misunderstood by various systems, such as health, education, juvenile justice and child welfare. 

A Hidden Crisis: Findings on Adverse Childhood Experiences in California (data report). Nearly 62 percent of adults in California have experienced at least one ACE, and one in six have experienced four or more ACEs. Learn how ACEs affect your county's health and how California can address ACEs.

An Unhealthy Dose of Stress: The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Toxic Stress on Childhood Health and Development (white paper). Adversity affects children's bodies and brains. This introduction to ACEs and toxic stress describes how childhood adversity can undermine healthy development. 

Our Partners

  • Futures Without Violence
  • Let's Get Healthy California Task Force
  • Medical Home for Children Exposed to Violence Project
  • Too Small to Fail


Featured Videos  

Children Can Thrive: CA's First ACEs Summit
On November 5-7, 2014, the Center for Youth Wellness hosted the first California ACEs summit, Children Can Thrive: California's Response to Adverse Childhood Experiences in San Francisco, CA. Children Can Thrive brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from different sectors and industries, including government, non-profit, private business, medicine, and philanthropy, to engage in a collaborative process to develop a common agenda to address adverse childhood experiences as the most important public health crisis of our time. This summit was the first gathering to focus on California's response to the impact of ACEs throughout the state.
ACEs - A Public Health Crisis
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are "the leading public health issue of our time." A public health crisis requires a public health response that includes all of us. Please join the movement because health begins with hope!
Building Resilience Against Adverse Childhood Experiences
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris discusses ACEs and toxic stress as the next massive public health threat.
The Theory of Change
Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, discusses how adults can lessen toxic stress in children.
The Power of Parents
In support of our partnership with "Too Small to Fail", Dr. Nadine Burke Harris discusses the power of parents.
2014 James Irvine Foundation Award Recipients
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and Suzy Loftus, Esq. receive the 2014 James Irvine Foundation Award