Community Resilience Toolkit
According to the CDC, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence and adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. However, ACEs can be prevented.
- ACEs are common. About 61% of adults surveyed across 25 states reported they had experienced at least one type of ACE before age 18, and nearly 1 in 6 reported they had experienced four or more types of ACEs.
- Preventing ACEs could potentially reduce many health conditions. By preventing ACEs, up to 1.9 million heart disease cases and 21 million depression cases could have been potentially avoided.
- Some children are at greater risk than others. Women and several racial/ethnic minority groups were at greater risk for experiencing four or more types of ACEs.
- ACEs are costly. The economic and social costs to families, communities, and society totals hundreds of billions of dollars each year. A 10% reduction in ACEs in North America could equate to an annual savings of $56 billion.
ACEs can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, as well as life opportunities such as education and job potential. These experiences can increase the risks of injury, sexually transmitted infections, maternal and child health problems (including teen pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and fetal death), involvement in sex trafficking, and a wide range of chronic diseases and leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and suicide. ACEs and associated social determinants of health, such as living in under-resourced or racially segregated neighborhoods, frequently moving, and experiencing food insecurity, can cause toxic stress (extended or prolonged stress). Toxic stress from ACEs can negatively affect children’s brain development, immune systems, and stress response systems. These changes can affect children’s attention, decision making, and learning.
ACEs are preventable. In order to prevent ACEs, we must understand and address the factors that put people at risk for or protect them from violence. Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent ACEs and help all children reach their full potential. The CDC has created a resource, Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence, to help communities use the best available evidence to prevent ACEs.
|Strengthen economic supports to families||• Strengthen household financial security
• Family-friendly work policies
|Promote social norms that protect against violence and adversity||• Public education campaigns
• Legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment
• Bystander approaches
• Men and boys as allies in prevention
|Ensure a strong start for children||• Early childhood home visitation
• High-quality child care
• Preschool enrichment with family engagement
||• Social-emotional learning
• Safe dating and healthy relationship skill programs
• Parenting skills and family relationship approaches
|Connect youth to caring adults and activities||• Mentoring programs
• After-school programs
|Intervene to lessen immediate and long-term harms||• Enhance primary care
• Victim-centered services
• Treatment to lessen the harms of ACEs
• Treatment to prevent problem behavior and future involvement in violence
• Family-centered treatment for substance use disorders
Raising awareness of ACEs can help:
• Change how people thing about the causes of ACEs and who could help prevent them.
• Shift the focus from individual responsibility to community solutions.
• Reduce stigma around seeking help with parenting challenges or substance misuse, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
• Promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments where children live, learn, and play.
Resilience can help to prevent or reduce the negative impacts of ACEs. Resilience is the ability to thrive, adapt and cope despite tough and stressful times. The more resilient a child is, the more likely they are to deal with negative situations in a healthy way that won’t have prolonged and unfavorable outcomes. Resilience is not an innate characteristic, but rather a skill that can be taught, learned, and practiced. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone. Everybody has the ability to become resilient when surrounded by the right environments and people.
ACEs can be prevented and resilience can help strengthen lives. Promoting social and emotional health is vitally important to both individual and population health. Experiencing stress, isolation, loss, or systemic social inequities is harmful to the health of Americans. Improving emotional well-being, social connectedness, and resiliency through research-based health promotion and prevention programs is critical. Learn more about preventing and responding to ACEs and practicing resilience in the San Juan County Community using this toolkit. Begin by educating yourself on ACEs, trauma impact, and resilience. Explore some self-care techniques to help practice resilience. Look at some of the family and parenting guides and/or explore some tips for service providers and organizations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022. Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/fastfact.html. Accessed 4/12/2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2021. Emotional Well-Being, Population Health. https://www.cdc.gov/populationhealth/well-being/. Accessed 4/12/2022.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on ACEs: This TED Talk gives a succinct overview of the ACEs Study and the long-term impact ACEs can have in one’s life.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) information and resources.
CDC’s Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence: Resource to help communities use the best available evidence to prevent ACEs
CDC Vitalsigns: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Quick facts / reference sheet with ACEs information
ACEs Study Infographic: Quick, user-friendly access to the ACEs study findings and information on how ACEs affect our lives and society.
American Psychological Association—The Road to Resilience: Helpful overview of resilience and a guide to building and retaining resilience.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Resources on culture and trauma in youth.
ACES Too High: Provides background information on ACEs, self-assessments, and ways to improve your resilience. Also has information and articles pertaining to the ACEs community.
Self-Care Starter Kit: (School of Social Work, University of Buffalo) Introduction to self-care with tools and activities to help develop a personalized self-care plan.
Self-Care and Burnout Printable Form: A helpful guide to recognize burnout and stress and to help you be able to respond appropriately.
Authentic Happiness: (University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center) Books, tools, and resources on optimism, hope, and happiness.
Stop Breathe Think (App): An App that reminds you to check your emotions and respond appropriately.
1-2-3 Care Toolkit: A comprehensive guide to understanding what your child is going through, how to respond, and how to take care of yourself and your child. Also has printable PDF available.
Personal and Parental Reflections on Adverse Childhood Experiences (8-minute video): This video highlights parents who have Adverse Childhood Experiences from their past and how they translate their experiences with what they’ve learned about ACEs to raising their children.
Healthy Children Building Resilience: Extensive list of resources for general resilience support for children as well as advice for specific situations. Website also available in Spanish.
Brain House Activity: This is a fun and informative way to talk to children about their brain, development, and problem solving.
These tools will help guide organizations and employees in creating and maintaining trauma-informed practices, assist care and service providers in managing their own stress or secondary traumatic stress, and connect organizations with local and national communities working toward ACEs awareness and trauma-informed practices.
Strengthening Families – A Protective Factor Framework: (Center for the Study of Social Policy) Strengthening families research and programs, as well as tools and assessments to help organizations bring it to life.
Be Strong Families; Provides assistance and trainings on strengths-based, family-centered, and trauma-informed practices to communities and organizations.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network—Creating Trauma-Informed Systems: Provides organizations with tools and resources for improving or creating trauma-informed systems in the programs and organization.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Secondary Traumatic Stress: Provides valuable fact sheets and resources for service providers to learn about and prevent secondary traumatic stress from working with clients.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – Adverse Childhood Experiences: Contains resources for policy-makers, practitioners, and communities working to raise awareness about and mitigate the impact of ACEs.
SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) produced this guide for service providers and organizations to use to improve their trauma-informed practices and principals.
ACEs and Resilience Communities
PACEs Connection: A national network of organizations and communities working to prevent ACEs and promote resiliency. Many relevant blog postings and resources for community action.
Trauma Informed Oregon: Organization from one of our neighboring states, which serves as a centralized source of information and resources for trauma informed efforts. TIO helps organizations and systems restore a sense of safety, power, and self-worth to individuals, families, and communities by providing learning resources, helping with implementing and accountability, promoting wellness and healing, and assisting with community building and stakeholder engagement.