Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) refers to traumatic events experienced in childhood that impact health over the lifespan. These include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, and/or family dysfunction. The link to health outcomes was revealed in a groundbreaking long-term study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The original study identified nine specific ACEs linked to negative health outcomes in adulthood. More recently, practitioners often use expanded lists to assess for trauma exposure. Examples include experiencing homelessness, community violence, discrimination, and deportation or migration.

A trauma-informed approach to healthcare and community services can minimize negative outcomes and build resiliency.

Current Health Status

The Washington State Essentials for Childhood Initiative supports safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments.

The Transforming Pediatric Practice Initiative focuses on improved health outcomes and increased access to behavioral health services for children.

Washington State Office of Public Instruction supports Compassionate Schools, focused on students whose academic performance is impacted by exposure to stress and trauma.

Many local and regional groups are implementing trauma-informed approaches to family and community health and well-being. The nature of the specific efforts vary but they share a common mission to prevent adverse childhood experiences and promote resilience. Information can be found through:

ACEs Resources

Current Work and Initiatives
Emerging Issues
Health Equity Concerns
Key Data and Sources
Recommended Strategies

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