The core of our model involves screening children in the primary care setting for the kinds of adversity that put them at risk for developing toxic stress and significant health problems later in life. Our experience has shown that if we can identify and assess risk early on, we have a better chance of offering interventions that prevent longterm health and behavioral problems.
Primary care providers develop a unique relationship with caregivers and children. The trust that many families feel for their child’s doctor makes the primary care setting an essential place to screen for ACEs and begin the conversation with caregivers about potential risks to their child’s health and well-being. Screening for ACEs is also an opportunity to educate families about the link between adversity and negative health outcomes and to make appropriate referrals for prevention and treatment.