Much of the discussion around the impact of trauma on child development up through adulthood has been bolstered by good research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The short-hand way to think about it is that the more children experience ACEs growing up, the more likely it is to have detrimental effects on a range of health and well-being outcomes. This most recent survey from Child Trends is based on parental reporting of ACEs experienced by their children through the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), importantly including what they refer to as “non-clinical” children. In this survey of eight ACEs, in almost all states economic hardship was the leading ACE identified, followed by divorce/separation of a parent/guardian.
The percentage of children experiencing ACEs essentially matched the national average of 54% with no ACEs reported, 35% with one or two ACEs, and 11% with three or more ACEs reported. As one might expect, the number of ACEs experienced generally increases up through adolescence, impacting not only early child development but also impacting critical developmental tasks during that time. You can learn more about ACEs in Wisconsin through the Children’s Trust Fund/Aces page. WCCF believes that all children deserve the opportunity to grow up in safe, healthy, and supportive families and communities; so, let’s work together to reduce the number of ACEs experienced by our children!!
by Jim Moeser