African American boy playing Doctor with his mom, checking her forehead and pointing to her heart.

Promoting Trauma-Informed and Resiliency Practices

Some of the most potentially harmful factors in a child’s development are the effects of trauma and toxic stress, which can lead to children facing lifelong physical, behavioral, and emotional challenges.

Prolonged exposure to trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which can include physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or living in a household with mental illness, substance abuse, or violence can create toxic stress.

Trauma can be defined as the lasting emotional or physical effects of experiencing circumstances that are distressing, overwhelming, and harmful. Societal oppressions including racism, sexism, and xenophobia can also be experienced as traumas. Trauma of all types can have negative developmental impacts on children and can affect their long-term physical and mental health. 

First 5 Contra Costa works with public and private healthcare and social service providers to build their capacity to prevent, screen, treat, and heal childhood adversity and toxic stress. 

Why do we need to act now?

While new research continues to enhance our understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress, the California Surgeon General has declared ACEs an urgent public health crisis with wide-reaching societal impacts for those both directly and indirectly impacted.

The good news is that the impacts of ACEs and toxic stress are treatable. By screening for ACEs and responding with evidence-based trauma-informed care, we can significantly improve the health and well-being of affected individuals and families.

What can providers do?

First 5 Contra Costa works to prevent ACEs, trauma, and toxic stress through awareness-raising, capacity-building, information-sharing, and policy advocacy for trauma-informed providers, approaches, and systems that foster resilience and healing.

Join us in the county-wide movement to prevent, screen, treat, and heal ACEs and toxic stress. No one organization, provider, or agency can do this work alone. Our goal is to connect providers to resources and to each other so they can do their part to promote holistic wellness and healing with families and children.

  • Join the Contra Costa Network of Care, an online learning and networking community composed of professionals in the medical, mental health, social services, education, and other fields that work with young children and their families. The Network connects members to one another and fosters the sharing of best practices, trainings, and other resources related to preventing, identifying and healing trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences.
  • Find out more about the “Becoming ACEs Aware in California” Training. It’s a free, two-hour training to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, screening, risk assessment, and evidence-based care to effectively intervene on toxic stress.
  • For more information regarding training on early childhood trauma or trauma-informed systems, contact Emily Hampshire, Trauma & Resiliency Coordinator, at