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California's ACEs Screening May Be Backfiring

There is accumulating evidence that California's program requiring doctors to screen children for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may be causing more trauma rather than actually helping kids. According to some critics, the intersection of the ACEs screening with stringent mandated reporter standards is resulting in needless referrals of children to child protection authorities. The subsequent investigations can be traumatic for children. More concerning, the fear of mandated reports may be keeping some parents from seeking financial aid, mental health care, or other public assistance. The evidence is not yet completely clear, but it is possible that once again, well-meaning legislators and public health officials are learning the wrong lessons from research studies.

California’s well-meaning program to treat adverse childhood experiences relies on a system that requires doctors to report them, even if it doesn’t amount to abuse. The result could cause even greater harm to children.


ausburn_deborah, youth services law, mandated reporter, insights
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