Blue Shield of California Foundation Commits $300,000 to Trauma Prevention

February 11, 2020
Ryan Imondi

Children’s Institute has received new funding to evaluate programs that support families impacted by generational trauma and community violence in South Los Angeles. Blue Shield of California Foundation has committed $300,000 to study the impact of our 2-Generation Neighborhood School Program at two early education sites over the next two years.

The funding is part of the foundation’s $9 million commitment to organizations across California. “We’re incredibly excited to support CII, which has been a cornerstone community service and is on the frontline of prevention, especially in communities experiencing enormous duress in this political and policy environment,” said Carolyn Wang Kong, Blue Shield of California Foundation Chief Program Director.

High rates of poverty and violent crime disproportionately plague areas of South LA where CII operates 28 Head Start and Early Head Start centers. CII’s 2-Generation Neighborhood Schools Program, also known as whole-child whole-family, began last fall at Ánimo College Preparatory Academy, Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School and CII’s Jordan Downs Head Start in response to the needs of children and families living in poverty who face housing instability, inadequate healthcare, and exposure to trauma at home or in their communities – all of which all impact learning ability.

2-generation model support children impacted by poverty

The central idea is to turn the early education center into a hub of services and supports for children and families. Services will be provided by CII and other partners such as food pantries, workforce development specialists, primary care providers and more.

The grant from Blue Shield will study the impact of the 2-Generation approach when it is expanded to CII’s Main Street and South Vermont early education centers.

Dr. Todd Sosna, Chief Program Officer at CII, said that most families who engage with CII have complex needs and as a result can benefit from multiple services. The concept behind this approach is that both children and parents are supported in a comprehensive manner, rather than focusing services on just one family member and just one area of need. CII believes enduring success involves the entire family by building on their strengths to support all areas of need.

“We are able to do this by coordinating services within CII and partnering with other agencies,” Dr. Sosna said. “Being more intentional around providing services to both children and parents is a strategic priority for CII, and the focus of ongoing efforts implemented throughout our agency.”