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Opinion: We Need a Safety Net for Children Experiencing Toxic Stress []


By Jim Hickman, California Health Report, June 8, 2020

We need to invest in the safety-net institutions that serve and support our most vulnerable now and during times of crisis.

COVID-19 is decimating our fragile, unfunded and outdated safety net, and the vital links between families and their local economic, health and social supports. The pandemic has made “underlying conditions” the new code phrase for the social and health inequities disproportionately impacting black and brown communities. Shelter-in-place policies are compounding the isolation, stress, distrust, misinformation and trauma that are common to many communities of color and low-income populations.

My organization, the Center for Youth Wellness, works to try to eliminate the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Traumatic events like violence, food insecurity and homelessness that occur in childhood can cause a toxic stress response which not only affects brain development, but can cause behavioral problems, learning difficulties and chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease if left untreated.

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