Together we can build a healthier future for children exposed to adversity.

Together we can build a healthier future for children exposed to adversity.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) affect 34.8 million children across socio-economic lines, putting them at higher risk for health, behavioral and learning problems.1

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what the science tells us

Childhood adversity literally gets under our skin, changing our brains and bodies.

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Childhood adversity literally gets under our skin, changing our brains and bodies.

Exposure to ACEs, including abuse, neglect, domestic violence and parental mental illness and substance abuse, not only affects brain development, it can change children’s hormonal systems, immune systems and even their DNA. This can cause behavioral problems, learning difficulties, and physical health issues.

Toxic stress can lead to chronic disease.

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Toxic stress can lead to chronic disease.

The more ACEs a child is exposed to, the higher the risk of developing chronic illnesses. In children, exposure to ACEs can increase likelihood of chronic diseases such as asthma. In adults, exposure to ACEs dramatically increases the likelihood of 7 out of 10 leading adult causes of death including heart disease and cancer.2

Early intervention is key.

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Early intervention is key.

Screening for ACEs in children as early as possible and providing children and their families with the support services they need is a critical step to prevent and undo the existing and future harm to children’s brains and bodies caused by toxic stress.

1. 2011/2012 National Survey of Childrens Health

2. CDC 2015, Felitti 1998

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what we believe

Early screening for adversity is a clear way forward.

We believe routine screening for ACEs at pediatric well-child visits should be as common as checking for hearing loss or exposure to lead paint. With early detection, we can help identify and treat children at risk of a lifetime of health issues.

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what we're doing
Advancing Clinical Practice

We are working to change the way pediatric clinics respond to ACEs and prevent and build resistance to toxic stress in children. We use a community-based integrated health model to help us identify, implement and evaluate treatment strategies, provide patients and families with supportive services, and share what we learn with providers across the country.

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Translating ACE Science

We are pushing the science forward to drive clinical innovation and better outcomes in pediatric health care. We contribute to clinical research, develop and disseminate scientific information, and make the science of ACEs and toxic stress accessible to expand knowledge and practice in the field.

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Building a Movement

We are advancing a national movement and action towards universal ACEs screening. We work to build broader awareness among parents about the connection between ACEs and children’s physical and behavioral health, build a national network of pediatric clinicians to adopt ACEs and toxic stress innovations into their medical practices, and advance an ACEs policy agenda to change local and national systems.

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