Education Spotlight: Merced County agencies helping those suffering from childhood trauma

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

Two North Valley agencies, Merced County Office of Education and ACE Overcomers, have received nearly $200,000 in grants to help those suffering from childhood trauma.

Landon Burked talked with two experts about the importance of treating adverse childhood experiences.

Landon: Let's define our terms here. How do you guys define adverse childhood experiences (ACE)?

Dave: Adverse childhood experiences are highly stressful events during the child's formative years. It's comprised of different categories of abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.

Landon: So let's talk about solutions. How is help, assistance coming from Merced County?

Dave: Merced County Office of Education and ACE Overcomers, we're collaborating together to do a couple of things. Number one, to make our counties have both Merced and Madera counties ACE aware, to raise the level of awareness among the general population, that when you stress a child during the developmental years, it affects us physically, emotionally cognitively, can even affect our lifespan years later. So number one, we're trying to raise awareness. Number two, Dennis and I with Merced County Office of Ed and ACE Overcomers are collaborating to develop a network of care, which is a collaborative effort between physicians who will screen, and then refer, screen for adverse childhood experiences, and then when a person demonstrates that there's the possibility that their childhood is affecting their health presently, the doctors will then refer through the network of care, the patient to see behavioral health or some other intervention.

Dennis: We have scientific evidence that says if we can detect that adverse childhood experience early on in our kids, and that's why Dave says we're working with our health care providers and our physicians that you start screening early. We can detect this early, and then you know, start introducing to them to different ways of maybe carrying on in their life. There's an opportunity here to do a systems change here, not just for the next year, but we feel that this network of care for care in Merced will be something that will change us for our next generations.

Dave: Parents will realize they are the biggest factor resilience factor in their child's life. And if parents will take seriously the challenge to reduce or eliminate adversity and difficulty in their child's life. We can change this in a generation. And so, adults, let's take this bull by the horns and let's be the resilience and factor in the calming factor in our children's life.
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