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California makes moves to end childhood emotional trauma

What's your earliest memory? It would be lovely if we could access the peace of time in the crib or the thrill of learning to ride a toy bike or a toy car. Unfortunately, the human brain is often wired to keep a larger impression of a bad memory, especially one with a sudden and tragic onset. In other words, the first accident on a bike or in a car is more likely to stay with us than our first ride.

For many children, especially in the ages at which the world is making more sense, fighting in families or the separation of their family can be an early traumatic experience with effects that last a lifetime. This is why California is making a statewide effort to prevent adverse childhood experiences, or "ACEs," and keep children feeling safe.

It's about more than just piece of mind. Many experts agree that ACES, especially in a series, can lead to poor physical health in the present and in the future. ACEs can also lead to substandard mental health. Children facing stress may overeat to the point of risk for diabetes, and high blood pressure as an adult can find its roots in childhood anxiety.

The Golden State's initiative would require ACE screening for more than 5 million children on the state's Medicaid program for low-income families. This would help prevent the pain and expense of future interventions.

Responsible parents can reduce the stress of separation and divorce with legal assistance that focuses on preventing conflicts. An attorney with experience in dispute resolutions or collaborative law can help examine these options and get you started.

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