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April 2020Vol. 21, No. 3Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a negative impact on a person's health and opportunities and even impact future generations. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a report, Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (PDF - 654 KB), dedicated to the prevention and reduction of ACEs and features strategies states can implement. According to the report, from 2011 to 2014, 62 percent of U.S. adults reported having at least one ACE. While it is impossible to eliminate all stress, the stress of ACEs—especially during the early developmental years of a child's life—is especially harmful.

The three strategies this report details are building resilience, supporting parental stress reduction, and increasing screening and treatment. These are further broken down into actionable strategies that states can use. For example, to build resilience, the report explains the importance of developing strong family bonds through home visiting programs and expanding access to early childhood education. Policymakers can use the state examples featured throughout the report to help assess their own practice and inform future efforts.