Center For Youth Wellness

Center for Youth Wellness Receives Grant from The Kresge Foundation to Study ACEs Screening in Detroit Area

The Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) is pleased to announce it has received grant funding from The Kresge Foundation to support a feasibility study determining the readiness of the Detroit community to screen for and educate families about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The feasibility study, funded by The Kresge Foundation and led by the Center for Youth Wellness’s National Pediatric Practice Community (NPPC) team will be conducted in Detroit, Michigan over the course of the next year.

Research shows that 34.8 million children across the U.S. are impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Yet only 4% of pediatricians regularly screen for ACEs — even though early adversity is now understood as a major threat to the health and wellbeing of children, both during childhood and across their lifetimes. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about 40% of total children in Detroit have experienced two or more ACEs, contributing to childhood asthma and lifelong health problems. Detroit also leads the country in children’s exposure to ACEs (39.9%) and has the lowest proportion of children who have faced no ACEs in their lives (34.3%). Additional research by the Michigan Department of Community Health found that Michigan youth in 2011-2012 had been exposed to more childhood trauma than the national average at each of the socioeconomic levels defined in the study.

The upcoming study will assess current ACEs screening practices conducted in pediatric care settings across Detroit and the types of educational and intervention supports provided to parents and caregivers. Additionally, the study strives to determine the feasibility of design strategies to engage Detroit area primary care physicians in screening for ACEs as part of routine pediatric care. The study results will provide valuable insights into the health care needs of Detroit’s children, the issues unique to the region, and the utility of expanding ACEs screening within the Detroit community. These findings have the potential to impact the health and wellbeing of thousands of Detroit children and families and also provide a unique opportunity to gain insights that will strengthen our efforts across the country.

The John Hopkins Bloomberg study shows us that Adverse Childhood Experiences are pervasive among children in Detroit. Now we need to better understand how the pediatric care system can systematically screen children and provide the support they need to address ACEs through parents and other caregivers,” said Kresge Health Program Senior Fellow Phyllis D. Meadows.

This support from the Kresge Foundation allows us to contribute to the work already begun in the Detroit area to address health inequities,” said Chris Padula, Executive Director at CYW. “The insights we gather will help advance ACEs pediatric screening protocols for providers in Detroit and across the country.

The project began in July 2018 and by the end of April 2019, the Center for Youth Wellness team aims to determine best practices and the level of readiness for implementing ACEs screening within pediatric primary-care settings in Detroit and identify sources of support for potential partnerships.

Questions regarding this project can be directed to

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