Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton) announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 1187 into law, marking a significant step in addressing the urgent needs of children who have survived family violence, child abuse, neglect, or experienced family member suicide. The legislation expands the pool of behavioral health specialists available to provide essential services to these children and families.
“Adverse Childhood Experiences have lasting effects on individuals, including PTSD, violence patterns, chronic health issues, mental illness, and substance abuse,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “Survivors of abuse, neglect, family violence, and loss deserve support from highly skilled professionals like Certified Child Life Specialists. These Specialists offer trauma-informed care and interventions, and with the signing of AB 1187, they will now be recognized as authorized mental health providers by the California Victim Compensation Board.”
The Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect has recognized the challenges agencies face when responding to these traumatic situations. Often, children and families do not receive referrals for grief counseling, leading to long-lasting negative social, emotional, developmental, and behavioral effects. Research has shown that Adverse Childhood Experiences can have profound and lasting impacts on individuals, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and chronic health problems. However, responsive grief and trauma support can mitigate these effects. AB 1187 connects children who have witnessed violence or experienced trauma with highly skilled and trained professionals, such as Certified Child Life Specialists.
“AB 1187 fills a critical gap in our support system for children who have become victims of trauma,” said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. “By recognizing the importance of Certified Child Life Specialists and making their services reimbursable, we are taking a significant step towards healing and resilience for these vulnerable children.”
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the Orange County communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, and La Palma, as well as the Los Angeles County communities of Artesia, Cerritos, and Hawaiian Gardens.