First 5 Kern awarded planning grant from ACEs Aware initiative

First 5 Kern has been awarded a six-month grant for nearly $300,000 from the California Department of Health Care Services, in partnership with the office of the California Surgeon General, as a part of the ACEs Aware initiative.

ACEs Aware grant FAST FACTS

  • Outreach to providers, education on the benefits and potential outcomes of incorporating ACEs screenings into area practices
  • Will target Medi-Cal providers and local Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Will utilize the Kern Connected Community Network to link people to services
  • The grant is valued at $293,656 and will run through July 2021

The grant will fund the creation of a countywide Network of Care that will train and support local medical providers to screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and, where needed, connect with local community partners to meet the non-medical needs of families under stress from poverty, food insecurity, lack of transportation, social and cultural isolation, and racism.

Research shows the link of a high ACE score to significant health risks, such as severe asthma, Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

First 5 Kern will execute the grant through its Resilient Kern program, which is a collaborative effort to help enhance the resiliency of residents throughout the county by providing trauma-informed care.

Resilient Kern will work with its community partners to evaluate how we jointly manage toxic stress in Kern County and work directly with medical providers to increase health screenings for Adverse Childhood Experiences for our community.

Specifically, this effort will engage with Medi-Cal providers and our local Federally Qualified Health Centers, who see the majority of Medi-Cal patients in Kern County.

“This grant represents an important next step in our work to create a more trauma-informed Kern County,” said First 5 Kern Executive Director Roland Maier. “By increasing the number of screenings for ACEs in our county, we can shine a light on the needs that exist, both in services and support. The commitment to this by our partners who serve our most vulnerable communities will go a long way to provide more equitable outcomes for our children and families.” 

The work included in First 5 Kern’s grant will run through June, 2021, and include outreach to providers, as well as education on the benefits and potential outcomes of incorporating ACEs screenings into area practices.

In total, more than $30 million was awarded through this round of grants to 35 organizations throughout California to strengthen and build robust care networks. This was the only such grant awarded to Kern County in the initiative.

Resilient Kern has trained hundreds of local members of the health and human services community over the last three years, and the website serves as a hub for information and recorded local webinars pertaining to trauma-informed care.

The Kern Connected Community Network

An important part of the ACEs Aware planning grant centers around connecting patients to the services they need throughout the county through the Kern Connected Community Network (KCCN).

The KCCN has brought together and trained over 50 local agencies and organizations to help provide a smooth transition for patients to community resources.

When combined with the trained medical providers through the ACEs Aware grant, KCCN will be able to provide efficient linkages between hospitals, clinics, and local community organizations throughout Kern County that provide services vital to underserved populations.

The ACEs Aware initiative

ACEs Aware is an initiative led by the Office of the California Surgeon General and the Department of Health Care Services to give Medi-Cal providers training, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for ACEs.

In January 2019, Governor Newsom appointed Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a national leader in pediatric medicine, research scientist, and a national voice elevating the issues around ACEs and toxic stress, as California’s first-ever Surgeon General.

Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, in partnership with Gov. Newsom, the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and health and community leaders, is leading system reform that recognizes, and responds to, the effects that ACEs have on our biological systems and addresses the lifelong impacts of ACEs.