The first years of a child’s life can have a profound impact on future learning, behavior and overall well-being. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) revealed that childhood trauma is common and can have a huge impact on future behaviors and health outcomes. ACEs are traumatic events that can dramatically upset a child’s sense of safety and well-being. Most brain development happens in ages 0-5, but trauma can disrupt that growth. Iowa’s study in 2012 looked at eight types of events: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse in the home, family member with mental illness, incarcerated family member, separation/divorce and domestic violence.
56 percent of Iowa adults report at least one ACE; 14.5 percent experienced four or more ACEs, indicating a significant level of stress in childhood. The most common ACEs reported were childhood emotional abuse (26.8%) and substance abuse in the home (26.1%).
The more ACEs someone reports, the more likely they are to report a wide range of poor outcomes as adults. ACEs research also shows that as the number of ACEs an individual has increases, so does the level of risk in developing health or mental health issues. Research shows that having safe, stable and nurturing relationships as early in life as possible can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of childhood trauma. Safe, stable and positive child care environments can help children reduce stress and provide a sense of comfort and routine.
To get more information and to find a complete copy of the Iowa ACEs report, visit Iowa ACES 360. An ACEs training has also been designed for child care programs, for more information on this training contact your local CCR&R Child Care Consultant today!