Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence

Publish Date: 
2019
Media Type: 
Category: 

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years) such as experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect; witnessing violence in the home; and having a family member attempt or die by suicide. These traumatic events in childhood can be emotionally painful or distressing and can have effects that persist for years. Factors such as the nature, frequency and seriousness of the traumatic event, prior history of trauma, and available family and community supports can shape a child’s response to trauma.

ACEs and their associated harms are preventable. Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent ACEs and help all children reach their full health and life potential. This new publication from the CDC offers guidance on the best available evidence for prevention to help practitioners ensure that their work will be impactful. 

Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences cuts across many forms of violence and draws on research and strategies from other CDC technical packages. Evidence is presented for the following prevention strategies:

  • Strengthening economic supports for families
  • Promoting social norms that protect against violence and adversity
  • Ensuring a strong start for children and paving the way for them to reach their full potential
  • Teaching skills to help parents and youth handle stress, manage emotions, and tackle everyday challenges
  • Connecting youth to caring adults and activities
  • Intervening to lessen immediate and long-term harms

By addressing the conditions that give rise to ACEs and simultaneously addressing the needs of children and parents, these strategies take a multi-generation approach to prevent ACEs and ensure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.

Download Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences and other violence prevention technical packages from the CDC’s website.

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