Adverse Childhood Experiences
The majority of Iowans have experienced childhood adversity or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Specific family problems as well as child abuse and neglect increase risks for serious mental and physical health issues later in life.
However, having adverse childhood experiences is not a diagnosis and does not predict negative outcomes. Most people can deal with these complex traumatic experiences with resilience and move on to lead rich, fulfilling lives. There are effective ways we can work together to help build resiliency as individuals, families, systems, and as a community to help more people reach a higher level of resiliency and well-being.
Basic Information about ACEs:
- Original ACEs Study: What are adverse childhood experiences and why do they matter? Groundbreaking research links child adversity to long-term mental and physical health problems.
- Iowa ACEs Data: How prevalent are adverse childhood experiences in Iowa? A statewide survey tells us that the majority of Iowans has experienced childhood adversity.
- The Neurobiology of Stress: This research brief provides a summary of the connection between early experiences of stress and the potential impact of those experiences on the body and developing brain.
- Link to Iowa ACEs online learning modules: Prevent Child Abuse Iowa worked with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Quality Assist to develop the following online learning modules: 1) The ACE Study: Its Impact and Our Opportunity and 2) A Child Abuse Prevention Response to ACEs.
Building a Resilient Community:
- Resiliency: Resiliency is learned. What is resiliency and how do people become more resilient? The American Psychological Association (APA) walks through basic information about resiliency and the behaviors, thoughts, and actions that are learned and internalized to increase resiliency.
- Protective Factors: What helps people to develop resiliency? Protective factors including healthy attachment, strong parenting skills, parent resilience, social connections, professional supports, and child social and emotional competence help minimize the potential impact of adversity.
- Resiliency Trumps ACEs: Tools, tips, and information for parents and providers working to increase resiliency in children, families, and communities.
- Promoting Resiliency: This brief provides an introduction to resilience, one of many protective factors that child abuse and neglect prevention professional are examining.
For Educators and School Systems:
Trauma can have a profound impact on students as people and their ability to be successful in school. Students spend a significant amount of time at school. Safe and compassionate schools foster student resiliency and maximize student success.
- Trauma Informed Care Project: Why do schools need to be trauma informed? What can schools do?
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Trainings and resources for developing trauma informed disciplinary systems at schools. Revising how students are disciplined has the potential to decrease suspensions and expulsions as well as increase student success.
- Compassionate Schools: The Heart of Learning and Teaching: How can everyone in the school system work towards a more compassionate learning environment for students?
- Calmer Classrooms: A guide to working with traumatized youth: Concrete tips and strategies for teachers to use in light of the impact of trauma on children.
- Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s collection of information for educators to use, broken down by student age and including helpful information for educators when talking to parents
For Parents and Caregivers:
- Sesame Street “Little Children, Big Challenges” for kids and parents: Kid and family friendly activities, videos, and tips for helping kids through tough times.
- Echo Parenting and Education: List of basic resources and reading for trauma informed parenting and care.
- Healthy Children: Strategies and tips for increasing your child’s emotional wellness
- Safe Start Center for Children Exposed to Violence: Works toward community action to prevent and reduce the impact of violence on children.
For Faith Communities:
- Information for Faith-Based and Community Leaders
- Faith and Recovery: The Healing Role of Faith-Based Organizations
- Safe Start Center: Faith Based Agencies and Trauma Informed Care
- Creating Partnerships with Faith Communities to End Sexual Violence
- Partnering with Religious Communities for Children
For Social Service and Mental Health Providers:
- Resiliency Trumps Aces: Information and resources for increasing family protective factors.
- SAMHSA National Center on Trauma Informed Care
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Treatment and Trauma Informed Care
- Crisis Prevention Institute
- Child Trauma Academy
- Everyone Can Play a Role in the Conversation about Mental Health
For Health Care Providers:
- Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress Toolkit for Health Care Providers
- Trauma-Informed Communication
- Healthy Foster Care America Guide
- Patient- and Family-Centered Care of Children in the ER
- Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician
For Court, Legal, and Law Enforcement Professionals:
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Juvenile Justice System: “Children who come to the attention of the juvenile justice system are a challenging and under-served population. These to help juvenile justice professionals understand and provide trauma-focused services to these youth.” – National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- The Role of Family Engagement in Creating Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Systems: Why and how to engage families in a trauma-informed juvenile justice system.
- Trauma and the Environment of Care in Juvenile Institutions
- Ten Things Every Juvenile Court Judge Should Know About Trauma and Delinquency
- Justice Policy Institute: Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense