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Resolution to Reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress Heads to California Senate After Passing Assembly with Bipartisan Support

A resolution encouraging statewide policies to reduce children’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress was introduced in the California Senate yesterday after unanimously passing the state Assembly on August 11.

Authored by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-39), Assembly Concurrent Resolution 155 passed the California Assembly with bi-partisan support and added 68 members as coauthors. The resolution was introduced for a vote yesterday in the state Senate by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). ACR 155 is co-sponsored by the Center for Youth Wellness, Children Now and Californians for Safety and Justice.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect and household dysfunction, which can result in toxic stress and have a profound effect on a child’s developing brain and body. Research shows that exposure to childhood trauma is surprisingly common; a study of over 17,000 Californians found that two-thirds reported at least one adverse childhood experience, while 20 percent of participants reported three or more ACEs.

Childhood exposure to adverse experiences is linked to increased risk for lifelong health and behavior problems. For example, research shows that an individual with four or more ACEs is more likely to have a stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and diabetes. A person with four or more ACEs is also likely to experience depression, be more suicidal, or be an alcoholic.

ACR 155 urges California officials to support research-based solutions to reduce children’s exposure to adverse experiences, and calls for investments in preventive healthcare and mental health and wellness interventions to achieve a healthy and prosperous California.

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