Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

four boys playing with a soccer ball
Image by Robert Collins on Unsplash

In the U.S, 46.3% of all children, ages 0-17, experience one or more ACEs, and 21.7% of all children experience two or more. 

In 2016 the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration compiled the National Survey of Children’s Health. That survey was then used by The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) to create an issue brief on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs can include, but aren’t limited to, parents or guardians divorced or separated, parent or guardian dead or serving time in jail, and violence in the home or in the neighborhood.

In the U.S, 46.3% of all children, ages 0-17, experience one or more ACEs, and 21.7% of all children experience two or more.  This means that almost half of children who experience an adverse event will most likely experience more adverse events. In addition, more than half of children aged 12-17 experience at least one ACE. The briefing goes into many more details ACEs and its impacts.

Promoting positive communication and habits is integral to the protection and healing of children with ACEs. In older children who experienced more than one ACE, staying calm when challenges arise increases their likelihood of engagement in school by three times.

There is evidence that a good relationship with their health care providers makes patients more likely to discuss sensitive issues like ACEs. Communication between parents and their child’s health care provider are linked to resilience and a greater number of recommended family habits.

The brief concludes with the argument that a child’s environment plays a large part in their development. It is possible that, despite prevalence of ACEs, the community can create an environment where all children can prosper.