Adverse Childhood Experiences: Opportunities to Prevent, Protect Against, and Heal from the Effects of ACEs in New Jersey

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Opportunities to Prevent, Protect Against, and Heal from the Effects of ACEs in New Jersey

A report from the New Jersey Funders ACEs Collaborative — which comprises the Burke Foundation, the Nicholson Foundation, and the Turrell Fund — calls for coordinated statewide action to protect children in New Jersey from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their long-term consequences. The report, Adverse Childhood Experiences: Opportunities to Prevent, Protect Against, and Heal from the Effects of ACEs in New Jersey (55 pages, PDF), estimates that more than 40 percent of children in the state have experienced at least one stressful or traumatic event — including psychological, physical, or sexual abuse; exposure to substance abuse, mental illness, or violence; or parental separation, divorce, or incarceration — while 18 percent have experienced multiple ACEs. Studies have found that children who experience two or more traumatic events are three times more likely than those who haven't experienced any to repeat a grade, and that children who experience four or more traumatic events are four times more likely to develop lung disease as adults and seven times more likely to self-identify as alcoholics. The report also found that New Jersey has fewer comprehensive data-collection systems than other states, hindering its efforts to incorporate the latest findings from brain science into youth and family services. To address those and other challenges, the report calls for coordinated action in five areas: supporting parents and caregivers; providing training and professional development in trauma-informed care; promoting community awareness of ACEs; advancing policies and practices that help children and families thrive; and collecting, analyzing, and sharing data and research.

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