Between 1995 and 1997, researchers surveyed nearly 17,000 people regarding their experiences of abuse, neglect, and other household challenges (such as the presence of substance abuse or mental illness) in their childhoods and have been tracking their health outcomes ever since. These experiences were termed “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or “ACEs,” and what researchers learned about their long-term effects was shocking: the more ACEs a person had experienced as a child, the worse their health outcomes proved to be later in life, with individuals who had experienced six or more ACEs losing an average of 20 years of life expectancy.

The reason these findings are so jarring is that ACEs are incredibly common. Approximately 62% of the U.S. population as experienced at least one of the 10 ACEs included in the study, and almost 25% have experienced three or more, putting them at dramatically increased risk for all kinds of chronic and acute mental and physical conditions as they get older. Here at Champions for Children, ACEs are huge part of what we strive to address when we talk about preventing child abuse and neglect. We also know that many of the parents we serve experienced multiple ACEs as children.

So that we can be as sensitive and effective as possible when working with parents who have ACEs, Champions for Children is proud to be implementing Trauma-Informed Care throughout our programs. As a “kick-off” to this important effort, we are excited to be hosting showings for all of our staff of the documentary “Broken Places,” which explores why some children are severely damaged by early adversity while others are able to thrive.

At Champions, we strive to deliver services that help our families ensure they and their children fall in with the group that “thrives.” If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend you take a look at the resources below and keep an eye out for more updates from us as we continue making Trauma-Informed Care a core part of our work with Tampa Bay families!

For more information about ACEs, you can read about the original study HERE and/or check out this TED Talk by Nadine Burke Harris.

For more information about Broken Places, see: https://brokenplacesfilm.com/#https://brokenplacesfilm.com/#!/about

Nikki Daniels

Associate Director