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Safe & Sound Completes Successful Program Demonstrating Feasibility of ACEs Screening at Scale Across the United States

May 14, 2024

Safe & Sound is proud to announce the Center for Youth Wellness’s (CYW, a program of Safe & Sound) successful completion of a groundbreaking program aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) screening in pediatric primary care settings on a nationwide scale. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) submitted a comprehensive report detailing the program’s outcomes to the United States Congress.

The program, spearheaded by CYW in partnership with the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has shown that ACEs screening can be effectively integrated into pediatric primary care settings across diverse communities, paving the way for a transformative shift in pediatric healthcare practices. By identifying and addressing ACEs early, healthcare providers can intervene to mitigate the long-term impacts of childhood trauma on health and well-being.

“We are thrilled to report the successful completion of our pilot program, which underscores the importance and feasibility of ACEs screening as a routine part of pediatric care,” said Karissa Luckett, Senior Director of the Center for Youth Wellness and the project lead for this program. “The findings from our program demonstrate that early identification of ACEs can lead to targeted interventions that improve health outcomes and break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.”

The report submitted to Congress highlights the urgent need for ACEs screening to become a standard practice in pediatric healthcare nationwide. With the prevalence of childhood trauma at alarming levels, integrating ACEs screening into routine pediatric visits is essential for providing comprehensive, trauma-informed care to children and families.

Furthermore, CYW emphasizes the importance of the need for Medicaid reimbursement for pediatricians conducting ACEs screenings. By ensuring that healthcare providers are adequately compensated for these screenings, Medicaid can incentivize widespread adoption of ACEs screening and support the delivery of trauma-informed care to all children, regardless of socioeconomic status.

“This work would not have been possible without the trailblazing efforts of the Center for Youth Wellness’s founder, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, to investigate, implement, and spread the wisdom of ACEs and their impact on life-long health” said Dr. Pegah Faed, CEO of Safe & Sound. “As this report shows, ACEs screening is something that should be scaled up so that every child in America can have access to the supports they need to thrive.”

As a leading expert in ACEs training and data collection, CYW stands ready to support healthcare providers and institutions in implementing ACEs screening protocols. Through innovative training programs, technical assistance, and data analytics, CYW equips healthcare professionals with the tools and resources needed to effectively identify and address childhood trauma in clinical settings.

The completion of this program marks a significant milestone in the movement to prioritize childhood resilience and well-being in healthcare policy and practice. With continued support and collaboration, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive, free from the burden of adverse childhood experiences, and be as resilient, happy, and healthy as possible.

For more information about Safe & Sound and the Center for Youth Wellness, please visit

About Safe & Sound

Safe & Sound is a children’s advocacy organization that has served San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area community for 50 years with a mission to prevent and reduce the impact of child abuse, neglect and trauma. Safe & Sound has helped lead practices that have reduced the rate of child abuse in San Francisco by 65% and reduced entries into foster care by over 53% in the last 15 years. In 2021, we merged with the Center for Youth Wellness, the organization founded by the former California Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, to advance equitable and just policies to reduce the frequency of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress. Each year, Safe & Sound reaches 11,000 children, parents, and caregivers in our community.

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