Recommended Tools

Effective for dates of service on or after January 1, 2020, screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is a Medi-Cal covered benefit.28 DHCS will pay Medi-Cal providers $29 per trauma screening for children, and children may be screened as determined appropriate and medically necessary, but screenings will not be paid more than once per year, per provider.28

By July 2020, providers must self-attest that the training has been completed to be eligible to continue receiving Medi-Cal payment for conducting ACEs screenings. The online provider training is accessible through the ACEs Aware website.29 The required screening tool for use by providers is the top portion of the Pediatric ACEs and Related Life-events Screener (PEARLS) for individuals under 18 years of age. The PEARLs tool is available as a caregiver-report questionnaire for ages 0-11 and as both a caregiver and a self-report tool for ages 12-19.28 Research has shown parents to be reliable reporters of their child’s development.

For information about the new Trauma Screening mandate, visit the DHCS website.

For more information on the use of the PEARLs tool, see the ACEs Aware website.

Child and Adolescent Trauma Screening Tool
Pediatric ACEs Screening and Related Life-events Screener (PEARLS) Tool (HCPCS Code: G9919 or G9920)*
Cost Free
Number of Questions 17
Parent Completion Time 10 minutes
Provider Score &

Interpret Time

5 minutes
Sensitivity N/A
Specificity N/A
Age Range 0-18 years
Year of validation N/A
Variety of survey forms 0-11 years – Caregiver varieties: De-identified; identified; and Part 1 De-identified & Part 2 Identified
12-18 years – Caregiver and self-report varieties: De-identified; identified; and Part 1 De-identified & Part 2 Identified
Languages Multiple
Web site


*Providers should use the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPS) billing code for screens that have a score of 4 or greater (high risk) and code G9920 is used for screens that have a score of 0 to 3 (lower risk).23