DAY 12: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

“Until the legacy of remembered and reenacted trauma is taken seriously, Black America cannot heal.” –Bell Hooks, author

In order for children to meet developmental milestones, learn, grow and lead productive lives, it is critical that they are healthy. Good social-emotional skills and mental health are key components of children’s healthy development.
Poverty, trauma and inadequate treatment are three factors shown to have a sustained, negative impact on children’s social-emotional skills and mental health. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is a term given to describe all types of abuse, neglect or other traumatic experiences that happen to individuals under the age of 18 years old. Racism is now recognized within ACEs – a toxic source of stress with the potential to disrupt a child’s ability to learn, relate, grow, play, communicate and problem solve.
In addition to experiencing trauma within our systems and environments, stress can change a person’s genetic code, influencing how future generations respond to stress within their bodies and their risk of poor health outcomes. While trauma impacts all racial and socio-economic groups, groups that report higher rates of childhood trauma include adults of color, women and people in poverty.
According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, Black children are disproportionately represented among children with ACEs. Over 6 in 10 have ACEs, representing 17.4% of all children in the U.S. with ACEs.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


View this infographic that explains the effects of ACEs and summarizes findings from a landmark Kaiser study that looks at the link between ACEs and long-term well-being.
Read Disrupting Toxic Stress in Children to Prevent Long-Term Health Impacts by Kate Vidinsky about an innovative health care model to screen and address toxic stress and trauma in children.
Read The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement by Shawn Ginwright, Ph.D., about a more holistic and culturally responsive approach to trauma and historical trauma.


Watch Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris on TEDMED explain how repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain and bodies of children.
Watch this video about Black Students More Likely to be Suspended from U.S. public schools, even as preschoolers.
Watch We Can Prevent ACE's video from the Center for Disease Control about the role communities can play in preventing and mitigating ACEs.


Listen to this podcast from NPR about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that institutionalized the racist eugenics movement and led to 70,000 forced sterilizations of people of color and people with physical and mental disabilities.


Assess your ACEs score to see how childhood trauma may be impacting your life. Then, assess your resilience score and explore resources on how to support yourself and others by building resilience.


Take part in this week's service activity: Food Drive

Food insecurity in our region impacts a growing number of families due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our food distribution partners have asked for the following donations: canned entrees (e.g., spaghetti-o’s, chili, etc.), canned meat, canned soup or stews, canned low-sodium vegetables and canned fruit. Learn more and give back.




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