Grantee Highlights

Santa Cruz County Public Health, Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County, First 5 San Bernardino

ACEs Aware grantees have been working tirelessly across California to build strong networks of care and reduce toxic stress in their communities since receiving their Round One grant awards in June 2020. This month we sat down with ACEs Aware grantees Santa Cruz County Public Health, Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County, and First 5 San Bernardino to discuss their progress, their upcoming activities for the year, and how they practice self-care within their organizations.

Santa Cruz Community Health (SCCH) is a Federally Qualified Health Center serves that over 9,302 patients per year. SCCH is committed to providing accessible quality care to Santa Cruz residents regardless of their ability to pay.

Grant Type: Peer-to-Peer Learning and Provider Engagement – Network of Care

What changes has your organization made since being awarded the ACEs Aware grant?
We have five key partners in our grant – Santa Cruz County Public Health, First 5, Health Improvement Partnership, Core Investments, and Family and Children’s Services – with whom we have strengthened our relationships and now use a shared language and understanding around values of equity and commitment to building a trauma-informed network of care to reduce toxic stress and strengthen our community.

We have developed a new institutional relationship with the Center for Community Resilience at George Washington University and adopted their “Pair of ACEs” framework as a foundational planning tool, which we have shared with our community partners so that they will join us in this movement. We are aligning our county Family Strengthening and Child Abuse Prevention work, Maternal Child Adolescent Health work, and Safety Net Clinic Work with our ACEs work. Each agency has started the work of aligning its specific focus areas. Because of this work, as well as our Thrive by Three and child abuse prevention collaboratives with ACEs, we are feeling the ripple effects of change starting to spread throughout our community.

What activities promoting trauma-informed care are you looking forward to in 2021?
We are extremely excited about the 2021 Calciano Youth Symposium: “Childhood Trauma: Addressing the Clinical Needs from Current and Historical Perspectives” on March 12. This is an annual Santa Cruz event, and this year Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Martha Merchant are presenting on their trauma- informed approaches.

We have established a Santa Cruz ACEs Aware Network of Care webinar series and are expanding collaborative planning and implementation activities with the Center for Community Resilience. We are also focusing on engaging more community and grassroots leaders to address the root causes of ACEs.

Family and Children’s Services has a workgroup that will be looking at the intersection of racial equity and trauma-informed care. Our Health Services Agency will also continue work on the Health Equity Advisory Council to ensure we are using an equity lens and adapting our approach to acknowledge the impact of adverse community environments and trauma in all COVID-19 response work.

Additionally, we are promoting and supporting broad adoption of the Unite Us platform in Santa Cruz County that will facilitate improved referrals between clinical settings conducting ACEs screenings and community-based buffering services.

How does your team prioritize self-care while focusing on this important work?
We have an amazing team and make it a point to share our highs and lows with each other whenever we check in, which is often. We start most of our meetings with brief shares to remind ourselves of our resilience, using sentence starters like, “My go-to coping skill right now is…” and “One talent I’ve learned in the pandemic is…” We use humor a lot, and when one of us has too much of a load to carry, the others volunteer to support where we are needed. We are an empathic group of folks who genuinely enjoy working with each other. We also express a lot of gratitude toward each other and promote kindness and self-compassion within our team.

Learn more about the Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz County ACEs Network of Care

Three Questions with the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) of San Joaquin County

The child abuse prevention council protects children and strengthens families through awareness and outcome driven programs delivered with compassion.

Grant Type: Provider Engagement – Network of Care 

What changes has your organization made since being awarded the ACEs Aware grant?
The major change was our hiring of ACEs Aware Project Coordinator, José Heredia-Rodriguez. The addition of José to recruit participants and hold monthly engagement sessions has been a huge success. This is due in part to Jose’s prior experience at CAPC.  José is in his fourth year here, and the previous three years he served as mentor/coach for our Transitional Age Youth (TAY) program. He screened all youth between the ages of 16 and 25 for ACEs and responded to those individuals with trauma-informed care. As we take on new partners in this collaboration, José draws on his experience to help them understand the necessity of screening and how they can all play a great role in providing support throughout our county. Some of our new partners include the Boys and Girls Club, the local chapter of Cal Conservation Corps, YMCA, and SJ County Probation, to name a few. We are very excited as these partners come together once a month to truly collaborate in our engagement sessions. We have received feedback showing they highly value the information being discussed and look forward to the engagement sessions each month.

What activities promoting trauma-informed care are you looking forward to in 2021?
In December 2020, we polled our participants to ask what topic they wanted to focus on in January. The majority chose trauma-informed care, which is fantastic because becoming a network of providers requires that all partners be on the same page when supporting and referring patients. For the months to come, we will focus on strength-based practices, relationships, and collaboration with all partners. We are doing this by having one-on-one conversations and urging our partners to consider screening their clients. We will also provide training on how to screen and respond with trauma-informed care. So far, we have had approximately 120 new attendees at our sessions, with an average attendance of 45 participants. This is truly shoring up all the partners in San Joaquin County to be true providers of much needed services after screenings.

How does your team prioritize self-care while focusing on this important work?  We are actually working in an office environment (essential services), but we are not fully staffed, so the missing personnel can make the office a lonely place. Coupled with providing essential services to clients, planning and coordinating can be very taxing during this time. Because of this, we each have a daily “walk” routine. Getting out and walking really helps us focus and is a daily routine of self-care.

Learn more about the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County on their website.


Three Questions with First 5 San Bernardino

Children from prenatal through five years of age and their families receive broad-based support with parent education, health care, social services, and quality childcare with First5 San Bernadino.

Grant Type: Communication Grant

What changes has your organization made since being awarded the ACEs Aware grant?
As the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) of San Bernardino County, the San Bernardino County Children’s Network (CN) was able to grow the partnership with First 5 San Bernardino (F5SB) to work more intently on the ACEs work already being done through the CAPC. The ACEs Aware communication grant bridged a collaborative partnership with the San Bernardino County Medical Society (SBCMS) to access the vast membership and medical provider network. Our ACEs Aware Communication Team (F5SB, CN, and SBCMS) connected with Help Me Grow Inland Empire, held four local physician focus groups, and identified ACEs Aware physician champions in San Bernardino County to increase the reach of the ACEs Aware Initiative. This communications grant has allowed all three agencies to develop new partnerships and strengthen existing collaborative partnerships around one common goal: raising awareness around the importance of addressing ACEs through our doctors.

What activities promoting trauma-informed care are you looking forward to in 2021?
The ACEs Aware Communication Team looks forward to launching three ACEs Aware public service announcements on various social media platforms and cable television networks, radio advertisements through local stations, and messaging to increase awareness around ACEs and to begin a dialog on the importance of trauma-informed care, support, and resources.

How does your team prioritize self-care while focusing on this important work?
The camaraderie and respect among the members of our ACEs Aware Communication Team are amazing. In keeping with the trauma-informed care framework and importance of relationships, the team communicates regularly and openly and creates space for self-care and the ability to lean on each other to get the job done.

Follow First 5 San Bernardino, Children’s Network, and San Bernardino County Medical Society on Facebook. 

Learn more about the ACEs Aware Grants program >