On January 1st, California became the first U.S. state to begin formally screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – early childhood adversities faced in a child’s home, including abuse, neglect, CDV, etc, that can have profound and defining impact on a child’s life that includes significant physical health repercussions in adulthood. The $160 million initiative is available for children and adults who participate in Medi-Cal – California’s insurance for low-income residents. 

The program offers health care providers 2 hours of online training and then encourages them to screen adults and children up to age 18 for ACEs, via a questionnaire that outlines the 10 key ACE categories outlines in the groundbreaking ACE Study that is considered the gold standard in the field. Aside from it significant potential public health implications, the project is an unprecedented experiment that seeks to reduce the health impacts of early childhood adversity in half within one generation.

The initiative is not without its critics, who argue that the health benefits of screening are yet to be proven, and this initiative could spur demand for resources and services the State is not prepared to provide at this time. Stay tuned.

To read the full article, “Screen for childhood trauma triggers debate,” you can visit SCIENCE magazine at the link that follows and log in or purchase the article: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6477/498.full