Our story

After the Center for Youth Wellness hosted its first conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in 2014, a group of participants from various sectors continued to work together on policies to prevent and mitigate the effects of childhood adversity and toxic stress. They formed the California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity, 4CA, after they developed a statewide policy agenda, the Action Plan to Address Childhood Adversity in California. The 4CA Action Plan was presented at the ACEs Policy Convening in San Diego, and it guides the Campaign's advocacy efforts for three years, through 2018. 

Sectors represented in 4CA include child welfare, early childhood, education, health, and youth justice. The Campaign is guided by the Steering Committee and campaign membership, with support from the Center for Youth Wellness and Children Now. Contact us at 4CAkids@centerforyouthwellness.org.

who's involved

Leaders from dozens of local and state agencies, advocacy groups and other organizations have helped shape 4CA. They include (Steering Committee indicated with a *):

  • Hanna Boys Center*

  • Harmonium

  • Impact Justice

  • Kaiser Permanente*

  • Kidsdata.org/ Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

  • Los Angeles Education Partnership

  • Los Angeles Mission College

  • National Center for Youth Law

  • Office of Assemblymember David Chiu

  • Opportunity Institute

  • Our Family Coalition

  • Parents Anonymous

  • Partnership HealthPlan of California

  • PolicyLink*

  • Prevention Institute

  • Public Counsel

  • Public Health Institute, Survey Research Group

  • Rady Children’s Hospital- San Diego

  • San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency

  • San Diego State University, College of Education

  • San Diego Unified School District*

  • San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center

  • San Francisco Department of Public Health

  • San Francisco Sheriff’s Department

  • San Juan Unified School District

  • Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Seneca Family of Agencies

  • Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency

  • Sierra Health Foundation

  •  Sonoma County Department of Health Services

  • Stanford Law School

  • Stanford University Medical Center

  • The California Endowment

  • The Children's Clinic, "Serving Children and their Families"*

  • The Chronicle for Social Change

  • The Sarlo Foundation

  • Time For Kids, Inc.

  • Trauma Camp

  • Treatment for Chains

  • UCSF

  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland


  • USC Children's Data Network

  • W. Haywood Burns Institute

  • Wonder: Strategies for Goof

  • Yolo County CASA

  • Yolo County Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health

  • Young & Healthy

  • Youth ALIVE!

  • Youth Law Center


  • ACE Overcomers

  • ACEs Connection Network*

  • Advancement Project

  • Advancing Parenting

  • Advokids

  • Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services

  • American Academy of Pediatrics, California

  • Berkeley Media Studies Group

  • Board of State and Community Corrections

  • California Adolescent Health Collaborative

  • California Alliance of Caregivers

  • California Department of Education

  • California Department of Justice*

  • California Department of Public Health*

  • California Emergency Medical Services

  • California Food Policy Advocates

  • California Health and Human Services Agency

  • California Office of Health Equity

  • California School-Based Health Alliance

  • California Youth Connection

  • Californians for Safety and Justice

  • Center for Youth Wellness*

  • Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego

  • Chico Unified School District

  • Children Now*

  • Children's Defense Fund - California

  • Children's Law Center of California

  • Common Sense Kids Action

  • Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department

  • Council for a Stronger America

  • County of Marin Family Connections

  • County Welfare Directors Association of California

  • Davis Joint Unified School District

  • Dibble Institute

  • East Bay Agency for Children

  • Everychild Foundation


  • First 5 Butte County

  • First 5 California

  • First 5 Contra Costa

  • First 5 Humboldt

  • First 5 Lake

  • First 5 Los Angeles*

  • Futures Without Violence*

  • Genentech

  • Goodwin Simon Strategic Research

  • Great Start Collaborative

how we work

Work Groups made up of campaign members implement the 4CA Action Plan with the Steering Committee's approval and support form the Backbone Team.

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Campaign Members

4CA members are people who amplify and extend the Campaign's work throughout California. They share with 4CA the local, regional, and state-level efforts related to preventing and addressing childhood adversity, and they introduce initiatives and stakeholders to 4CA.

You're a Campaign Member if You...

  • Participate in 4CA events, such as a policymaker awareness day or recurring members webinars
  • Participate in a Work Group, the Steering Committee or other 4CA group
  • Share your ideas with 4CA, pass on pertinent information and relevant opportunities, OR
  • Recruit new campaign members

Work Groups

Campaign members are encouraged to join Work Groups to develop and implement specific, concrete tactics that align with the 4CA Action Plan. Work Groups are designed to be inclusive and are open to interested members regardless of sector affiliation, even if the tactic targets a particular system or sector. Work Groups may form, continue and disband, according to the interest and capacity of members and the tactic's nature and timeline.

You're a Work Group Member if You...

  • Complete tasks assigned by a Work Group that help implement a tactic
  • Participate in regular calls and/or meet monthly with other campaign members to develop a tactic that aligns with a 4CA strategy, OR
  • Submit your Work Group idea to the Steering Committee and recruit campaign members to make it happen


    Steering Committee

    Steering Committee members are champions for 4CA. They provide leadership by supporting Work Group activities and other activities aligned with the Action Plan. Steering Committee members meet by phone every other month and in person every quarter:

    • Pegah Faed, First 5 Los Angeles
    • Jessica Haspel, Children Now
    • Godwin Higa, San Diego Unified School District
    • Gail Kennedy, ACEs Connection Network
    • Debbie Lee, Futures Without Violence
    • Elisa Nicholas, The Children's Clinic, "Serving Children and Their Families"
    • Christina Nigrelli, ZERO TO THREE
    • Mary Kelly Persyn, Hanna Boys Center
    • Marc Philpart, PolicyLink
    • Steve Wirtz, California Department of Public Health

    Some Steering Committee members also serve on the Policy Subcommittee, which reviews policy-related tactics proposals and any requests for 4CA endorsement. These members are Cecilia Chen, Jessica Haspel, Godwin Higa, Elisa Nicholas and Christina Nigrelli. The Policy Subcommittee's analysis and recommendations help the Steering Committee make informed decisions.

    Backbone Team

    Several staff members from the Center for Youth Wellness and Children Now form the 4CA Backbone Team, which supports the campaign membership and the Steering Committee. It hosts members webinars, facilitates Steering Committee meetings, and coordinates communication across 4CA groups.