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Beyond Screening: Achieving California’s Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma

Thursday, November 12, 2020
Developed by The California Funders Workgroup for Prevention and Equity: Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund, and Well Being Trust, with support from Prevention Institute

As California philanthropies committed to advancing equitable health, safety, and wellbeing across the state, we’re excited to share Beyond Screening: Achieving California’s Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma, a new report that makes the case for a community-level, prevention approach to reduce adverse childhood experiences. Beyond Screening reflects what we’ve learned from communities we work with across the state of California: how to support mental health and wellbeing, heal from trauma, build resilience, and assert a positive vision for the future.

Beyond Screening emphasizes four key strategies to support healthy, safe, and equitable environments for children and their families:

  • Strengthening economic supports to families, like expanding access to living-wage employment, paid family leave, and social safety-net programs
  • Promoting healthy social norms that protect against violence and adversity
  • Providing access to housing and healthy community development
  • Ensuring every child gets a strong start in early childhood, childcare, school, and after-school settings

Reducing the burden of adverse childhood experiences by 50% within a generation—a goal set by California Governor Gavin Newsom and our state’s first-ever surgeon general, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris—will require addressing community-level factors that fuel stress and trauma like racism, a hostile climate for immigrants, displacement, and economic inequality.

Adverse childhood experiences were already widespread before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, undermining the health and economic stability of millions of families. An equitable recovery from COVID-19 will require investing in California’s communities of color that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with a particular focus on healthy child development for families that have been cut off from vital social supports like in-person education.

To our fellow California funders, we share this paper in the hopes of sparking a conversation about how we can best support our communities during this difficult time and down through generations to come. We welcome feedback and further dialogue. 

Read the Report

Please contact Bonnie Midura at The California Endowment or Matt Cervantes at Sierra Health Foundation, both members of Northern California Grantmakers, for additional information.