Provider Spotlight

California Boys & Girls Club Sites Offer Trauma-Informed Programs

The ACEs Aware initiative, a statewide effort to screen children and adults for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and prevent and treat the impacts of toxic stress, is built on the consensus of scientific evidence demonstrating that early detection and evidence-based interventions improve outcomes. The ACEs Aware mission is even more important today as we address the secondary health impacts of stress resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a growing need for mental and behavioral health support for California’s young people.

There are more than 800 Boys & Girls Clubs across California, and all sites run trauma-informed, social-emotional learning programs delivered by professionally trained staff. These programs help young people process feelings, communicate needs, turn down negative offers, seek support, and become peer mentors. They meet the mental health and behavioral development needs of more than 85 percent of kids in a group setting, and the programs are accessible since Boys & Girls Clubs are located in geographically diverse areas and membership is inexpensive or free.

When screening children for ACEs and the risk of toxic stress, consider referring or “prescribing” your local Boys & Girls Club. We are great partners in youth social-emotional development. Below are examples of some of our innovative programs:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Malibu partners with its local school district to run a four-credit social-emotional learning class, and is the primary provider of clinical mental health services to district students and parents.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove manage 27 mental health clinicians on behalf of the local school district and provides clinical mental health services for youth involved with the juvenile justice system and their families.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias in Visalia have imbedded mental health professionals to work with Club staff to implement mental health treatment plans.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has two onsite therapists and a suicide response action plan, and it partners with its school district to provide programs at lunch for young people who need social support.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco employ four mental health clinicians, has trained youth development staff to identify trauma, built relationships with parents and schools to facilitate referrals, and reduces the stigma around seeking mental health assistance by encouraging older youth to speak about therapy.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the West San Gabriel Valley have a mobile wellness unit staffed by a clinician who provides mobile services and programming.
  • Boys & Girls Club of North Valley has a seat on the county youth mental health taskforce and provides emotional crisis training. Additionally, all staff are trained by a behavioral specialist.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Redlands-Riverside run an evidence-informed, clinically-developed pregnancy prevention program for youth.
  • Several Boys & Girls Clubs have formed partnerships with community health care providers. Professional staff supervise social work graduate students who provide one-on-one counseling to Club members. Staff also teach youth development classes for parents and provide training for teens who aspire to be peer mental health counselors.

If you would like to receive more information about Boys & Girls Club locations, resources, or support, please visit or reach out to Sarah Bedy at