Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)


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 health care and community services can minimize negative outcomes and build resilience.

Current Health Status

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

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:

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