An Investment in Prevention


As we wrapped up our research project estimating the scope of sex trafficking in Sacramento County, the CASH Survivor Advisory Council turned to crafting recommendations to prevent sex-trafficking and to intervene at the earliest opportunity.  An important recommendation from the Council was that Sacramento County, and all counties in California, commit to the health and wellness needs of all children using Student Based Health Centers (SBHC) or by following the Academy of Pediatrician’s recommendation and have a full-time nurse in every school.  Nurses have the skill and training to identify abuse and indicators of trafficking.  They can ensure our children and youth have access to someone who is focused on their wellness.    

The Robert Wood Johnson talks about the strength of this idea.  This post from their Culture of Health Blog highlights the value of nurses in schools, especially as our communities are stressed .  Robin Cogan explains how nurses add to children’s lives,

“One caring adult in a child’s life is a protective factor. Often that caring adult is a school nurse.  We know that no dysregulated child ever calms down because you tell them to, that a stomachache is often a sign of anxiety, depression, or a problem at home.  We can encourage a child to identify emotions and connect her or him to a school counselor or psychologist. We can open communication with parents.”

Student Based Health Centers and Nurses are already in use in Sacramento County and throughout California, but not at a sufficient scale.  There are currently 243 Student Based Health Centers in California and 3 in Sacramento County.1 For the 2018-19 school year, the most recent data available, there was 1 school nurse for every 2,410 students in California and 1 school nurse for every 3,183 students in Sacramento County.2  It is estimated that for every dollar spent on school nurses, society saves $2.20, making this prevention strategy cost-effective in the long run.3

This is the work of prevention. 

To connect with the research team or Survivor Advisory Council, email Sawan at

1.  CSHA-CA-SBHCs-Map-Overview-15-16.pdf ( 2. Ratio of Students to Pupil Support Service Personnel, by Type of Personnel – 3.  Recognizing School Nurses (

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