What are ACEs?
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are harmful events that happen during childhood. Examples include the following:
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Parental separation or divorce
- Household members who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse
- An incarcerated parent
Adverse community environments are social or economic issues in a neighborhood that have a negative impact on a child’s well-being. Examples include the following:
- Violent crime
- Racial discrimination
- Poor housing quality and affordability
This “pair of ACEs” combine to create toxic stress, which forces the body into a constant state of fight or flight response. Toxic stress has a detrimental effect on the developing bodies and brains of children, increasing the likelihood of behavior problems and lack of school engagement. It also leaves kids at higher risk for chronic illness, obesity, drug addition and mental illness later in life.
By working together we can prevent and heal the damage caused by ACEs. Building resilient individuals, families and communities is the key.
Help make your community a great place for children to grow up.
- Find out how adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress can affect your family and community.
- Learn how you can help build resilience in yourself, your family and community.
- Commit to building stable, positive relationships with the children in your life.
- Join the movement and work to make sure your community has the resources people need to heal and prevent adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress.
- Spread the word to friends and family.