Plan To Address Childhood Adversity

Health care and education experts yesterday released a seven-step plan to involve childhood trauma and adversity indicators in state policies, educational institutions and medical practices.

The plan was released at a state summit in San Diego on adverse childhood experience indicators.

The seven broad steps in the plan:

  1. Raise public awareness. ACE indicators are a relatively new tool in medicine. Advocates hope to expand into other public sectors such as education and the jail system, particularly in dealing with young offenders.
  2. Develop a workforce that understands the lasting effects of early adversity and trauma. That includes forming licensing standards for professionals who adopt adversity- and trauma-based approaches.
  3. Make sure that workforce is diverse. Many adversity-affected children come from different ethnic backgrounds, and advocates want professionals to be culturally competent.
  4. Find money for intervention. Getting people to understand the basics of ACE indicators is a good start, but treating anyone with those factors takes more funding to ensure access to interventions.
  5. Try to identify ACE factors early. If children with multiple ACE indicators can be identified and treated at an earlier age, it could reverse the course of people dealing with them.
  6. Pinpoint the determinants of childhood adversity. That means working with institutions and programs to get at the root causes of childhood adversity.
  7. Form systems to deal with adversity and trauma. There are many child and family organizations concerned about these issues, and they may need education and help to adopt trauma-informed approaches.

“Our state’s children face a crisis,” the action plan said. “The crisis crosses socioeconomic, racial and geographic lines, straining our systems of health care, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, early childhood education and more. … It’s time for statewide action.”

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