News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – November 4, 2016

Media memo

To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.

*Media Memo will be on hiatus the week of November 7.*


Can Poverty Lead To Mental Illness? | NPR | October 30, 2016

After a mother killed her four young children and then herself last month in rural China, onlookers quickly pointed to life circumstances. The family lived in extreme poverty, and bloggers speculated that her inability to escape adversity pushed her over the edge. Can poverty really cause mental illness? It’s a complex question that is fairly new to science. Despite high rates of both poverty and mental disorders around the world, researchers only started probing the possible links about 25 years ago. Since then, evidence has piled up to make the case that, at the very least, there is a connection. People who live in poverty appear to be at higher risk for mental illnesses. They also report lower levels of happiness.


Covered California starts taking signups — but it’s staying quiet | San Francisco Chronicle | October 31, 2016

Amid a contentious presidential campaign and news of skyrocketing health-insurance rates in some states, signups are beginning for coverage in the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, including Covered California. So state officials say they’ve decided to lie low until after the Nov. 8 elections. “You will see a big push following the elections,” said Covered California spokesman Dana Howard.

Child Welfare

Changing Minds Launches Child Trauma PSAs | The Chronicle of Social Change | November 3, 2016

A new national campaign launched last week hopes to raise awareness around childhood trauma, starting with a series of videos that highlight the important roles that adults can play in helping children succeed after experiencing violence. Changing Minds is a partnership between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), San Francisco-based nonprofit Futures Without Violence, the Ad Council and the advertising agency Wunderman. Organized under the auspices of the DOJ’s Defending Childhood initiative, the campaign is designed to draw attention to issues faced by children who have witnessed or have been victimized by violence and provide adults who interact with them— such as teachers, coaches, school nurses, guidance counselors and others — with tools and tips about how they can help children recover from these traumatic experiences. In 2010, the Defending Childhood initiative was started by then-Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice with the goal of addressing the issue of childhood exposure to violence and its impacts on health, safety and education. Recent research on children’s brain development has focused on the impact of witnessing violence, including domestic violence, fighting or other early adverse experiences.

Surprising Number Of California Parents Experienced Abuse As Children | California Healthline | November 3, 2016

One out of five California adults with children living in their homes were beaten, kicked or physically abused when they were children, and one in ten were sexually abused, according to data released recently by a children’s health foundation. Experts believe that’s an undercount. “I think it’s probably a low estimate,” said Cassandra Joubert, director of the Central California Children’s Institute at California State University, Fresno. “I think these kinds of events within families are hush-hush, swept under the rug, not really talked about.” Focusing on the abuse that parents have experienced is essential to interrupting the cycle of trauma, Joubert said. Adults who were abused or neglected as children often end up emulating their own parents. “It’s almost this mirroring effect,” Joubert said. The data were recently released by, a program of the Palo Alto-based Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, to coincide with a recent conference on adverse childhood experiences in San Francisco.