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First 5 Placer sponsors and collaborates with partners to provide a variety of events and educational opportunities to Placer County. 







The third Placer Town Hall event was held on March 20, 2019, and featured acclaimed speaker and author Dr. Robin Karr-Morse along with a panel of Placer County leaders to spur dialogue about the significance and impacts of early childhood trauma in Placer County. (View the program.)


Among the more than 200 attendees were representatives from Placer County, healthcare, community-based organizations, educators, law enforcement, philanthropy, faith-based organizations,  service clubs, and more. 


Central to the conversation was the prevalence of childhood trauma in Placer County and opportunities for building community resiliency.

Quick Links:
Placer Town Hall 2019 Photo Gallery


Placer town hall 2019



Program Highlights & Learnings

The keynote, panel discussion, and Q&A provided insights on early childhood trauma from a variety of perspectives. Read an overview of the key learnings below, or experience highlights from the event by watching the 15-minute recap video.


Key Learnings:

The first five years of a child's life are fundamental to brain development and life-long health.
  • Even from its beginnings in the womb, early brain development can be forever influenced by the impacts of toxic stress.

  • Exposure to both early negative experiences and substances can impair or stunt the neurological connections forming during early brain development. The synaptic connections made—or not made—are the foundation that shape a child's future, mental and emotional health, happiness, growth, development, as well as learning of achievements in school.

When toxic stress is experienced chronically very early in our lives, it paves the way for chronic disease and mental health issues.
  • Any experience, big or small, that increases the overproduction of the fight or flight responses in the lower brain, has wide-reaching effects on the body.

  • Scientists believe that up to 70% of the contribution to a given disease can be epigenetic. This comes not only from our own experiences, but those of our parents and even our grandparents.

Childhood trauma and related issues in Placer County are on the rise at the same time some protective factors are less accessible.
  • The number of domestic violence victims seeking services in Placer County has more than tripled in the last few years.

  • Behavioral health providers are seeing a lot more violent behavior related to substance abuse, and law enforcement is seeing a huge insurgence of methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Families and children at greatest risk for toxic stress and early life adversity often have the greatest challenges with issues like access to affordable housing, transportation, and quality child care.

  • There is very limited access to prenatal health care for mothers on Medi-Cal in Placer County.


Healthy and healing experiences can help mitigate against the emotional and physical effects of childhood trauma.
  • Positive emotions like love, gratitude, feelings of connection, attachment to people, and a sense of accomplishment build resilience to toxic stress.

  • Feeling safe and secure in both a family and community environment is critical.


Investing in upstream programs and policies, such as prevention and intervention strategies have the biggest upside potential.
  • Universal home and nurse home visitation programs have proven to be effective.

  • Parental support and education can be normalized for all parents regardless of socioeconomic background to help build a culture that is more supportive and less judgmental of childhood behaviors associated with adverse experiences.


Everyone in a community has the power to do something and make difference in the health and well-being of young children.
  • If you see something, say something whether it's in your family, neighborhood, or community. And pay attention to what's happening in your child's school and childcare.

  • Build relationships with your neighbors and get to know people so that we support a community culture that is more understanding and empathetic with one another.

  • Give your time by volunteering at a school or local non-profit.

  • Donate resources directly or through a philanthropic organization to help support gaps and limitations in grant funding.


Event Recap & Highlights Video:
Follow-Up on Audience Q&A


Town Hall attendees were called upon to participate in the event by submitting questions and comments on the information being presented. Three questions were discussed during the live Q&A at the event, however, more than two dozen total questions were received!

Click here for all the audience questions and panelist answers >>



Opportunities for Action


Want to get involved in efforts to help prevent childhood trauma and build resiliency in Placer County? Whether in your professional role or personal life, there are many ways to give of your time, influence, or resources that can help make an impact. For example: ​

  • Advocate for policies and programs that are family friendly and support early childhood health and development

  • Donate funds directly or Join a philanthropic "giving circle"

  • Volunteer your time at a non-profit

  • Show kindness to your neighbors and help build community empathy


Where Can You Start? Connect with an organization or existing effort!
Placer Collaborative Network (List of Placer County Non-Profits)
Stand Up Placer
Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center
Placer Community Foundation
Community House (Tahoe Basin Resources)


State & Local Advocacy
Placer Housing Matters: Calling for affordable workforce housing
Census 2020: Making sure young children are counted



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