Supporting families by preventing and healing childhood trauma is at the core of our work at the Center for Youth Wellness. We applaud the government of California for funding screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and additional adversities in the May revision of the state budget, with the roll-out of screening slated to include a supplemental payment and recognition that providers should be trained to do this work.
We strongly support this budget provision because screening all children for adversity allows providers to identify and intervene with supportive care, guidance, and resources. However, providers require financial support for the extra time and work required. In addition, they need to be trained in ACEs screening and intervention to be able to answer questions about it from parents, caregivers, and other professionals.
“As a pediatrician in Los Angeles, where over 1 million vulnerable children are on Medi-Cal out of 5.4 million statewide, I’m thrilled by the state’s move to include funding for universal ACEs screening in the budget,” said Dr. Jonathan Goldfinger, CYW’s chief medical officer and a principal investigator of the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health. “At CYW, we know early detection and intervention are key to improving health and changing kids’ life trajectories. As many as 34 million children in the United States exposed to adversity are at risk for serious lifelong mental and physical illnesses without medical intervention.”
“This is why we’re working to ensure every child is screened in primary care for ACEs and other important hardships. Pediatric medical homes are uniquely suited for ACEs screening because they already offer a wide array of services for kids and families. If we all come together to know what’s happened, we can prevent and mitigate seriously negative effects on kids’ health and well-being from toxic stress,” Goldfinger added. ”To secure this future and break cycles of poverty and trauma, California should also add funds for mental health services for families, starting with new mothers and their babies.”
The Center for Youth Wellness is excited and deeply gratified to see our state taking the lead on trauma screening and early childhood development. We will be working hard to make a resilient California a reality.
Center for Youth Wellness is not a crisis center. Those experiencing urgent medical or psychiatric concerns should dial 911 or their local emergency agency for assistance. We are unable to respond to messages requesting referrals, treatment or clinical consultations from individuals who are not our patients.