ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects show up decades later; they cause much of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.
In 2014, United Way of Central Washington volunteers began studying ACEs as a critical issue in our communities - and as a big opportunity to help children and youth succeed in school, graduate on time, and be ready for college and career. Several great efforts have been launched in Yakima County over the years, and there's a strong collaboration underway in Kittitas County currently. In spite of years of work, there remains far too little awareness of ACEs, especially in our schools.
There is a wealth of new information and science related to the effects of childhood trauma, and the ways that parents, schools and communities can work to prevent trauma and build resilience as the key to helping kids succeed.
In the fall of 2014 we held a conference and training on ACEs at Eisenhower High School in Yakima, attended by 125 teachers, early childhood providers, United Way funded agencies and volunteers. From that first step in learning about ACEs a workgroup of volunteers and professionals in the field came together to continue the learning and begin raising broader awareness of this key issue.
We're just getting started! If you'd like to join the effort, please email us or call the United Way office at 509.248.1557.
Here are some links to great information about ACEs:
- ACES Too High
- Adverse Childhood Experiences infographic
- “ACEs” comes from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, a groundbreaking public health study that discovered that childhood trauma leads to the adult onset of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence.
- The 10 ACE Questions (and 14 resilience survey questions)
- The Children's Resilience Initiative in Walla Walla
- The Risk to Resiliency Initiative in Yakima County
If you know of other resources to add here, please let us know and help us build knowledge of ACEs for our community.