Nurse Wendie Skala worked with teens who were victims of street violence — and she always felt she was getting to them too late.

Eventually, she learned about something called “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs: The idea that trauma early in life can cause disruptive and unhealthy behavior. And that’s when Skala says a “huge light bulb” went on.

“Instead of saying, ‘What’s wrong with these kids?’ We could finally say, ‘What happened to these kids that they’re ending up in these gangs, shot, stabbed, or almost assaulted to death?’” she said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, released last Thursday, could allocate $45 million for screenings to identify these experiences among children and adults on Medi-Cal. A growing body of research shows that if ACEs are spotted early, doctors and teachers can intervene to change a child’s trajectory. Read more here