What Does ‘ACEs’ Mean?
Information about ACEs - Adverse Childhood Experiences - is based on the results from a large study in the mid 1990s which discovered a direct correlation between adverse experiences as a child and a decline in mental and physical well-being in adulthood. The study narrowed down ten ACEs and developed a survey to get a person’s ACE "score." Learn more by watching the video below:
Early Intervention is Critical
Fighting Adverse Childhood Experiences in Palm Beach County
Our Approach: Fighting ACEs
A child’s brain is PLASTIC and wants to HEAL. The brain is continually changing in response to the environment. If toxic stress stops and is replaced by practices that build resilience, the brain can slowly undo many of the stress-induced changes.
Early Intervention and Prevention is KEY. Why focus on young children?
Efforts made at the earliest developmental stages yield the greatest likelihood for later returns on investment and achievement of strong, positive child outcomes. Early intervention is critical because:
- By 8 months of age, brain synapses have increased from 50 to 1000 trillion.
- A child’s early experiences actually build the architecture of the brain.
- Young children who are not touched have brains that are 20-30% smaller.
- Adversity in early childhood can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems.
- Supportive, loving caregivers can actually buffer the effects of toxic environmental stress.
Young children who live in environments characterized by ongoing exposure to violence, abuse, and neglect are at enormous risk for chronic traumatization, including the development of persistent problems that lead to negative health and behavioral outcomes throughout the lifespan. Prevention efforts are critical, as reflected in a recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey of Palm Beach County students:
- 27% of high school students reported sadness and hopelessness that was strong enough to interrupt normal, day-to-day activities.
- 19% of high school students had hurt themselves in the past year.
- Over 20% of middle school students have considered suicide, and 16% developed a suicide plan.
This can be prevented. Fighting ACEs focuses on early intervention for the most vulnerable children in Palm Beach County, which can prevent a lifetime of problems. VISIT OUR FIGHTING ACEs IN PBC blog to learn more about community efforts and activities.
The Fighting ACEs initiative builds on the work Center for Child Counseling has been doing in Palm Beach County since 1999. It includes an array of prevention and early intervention activities including direct services for children and families, clinical training and supervision, and educational workshops for caregivers and professionals (teachers, social workers, childcare workers, police officers, attorneys, nonprofits, foster care homes, pediatricians, etc.) who work with children on how to recognize signs of Adverse Childhood Experiences and combat toxic stress in children. The ultimate goal is to create a system wide network of adult “buffers” who are trauma-informed and “ACEs Aware.”
For schools, organizations, and individuals who are interested in learning more about the effects of toxic stress and ACEs, please email us. Workshops and services are customized based on the needs of each organization, childcare center, or school.