Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Policy Toolkit
July 27, 2023
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include abuse (emotional, physical, and sexual), household challenges (violence in the home, substance use, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and incarcerated household member), and neglect (emotional and physical) experienced before age 18.
A substantive body of evidence demonstrates that ACEs are risk factors for negative physical health, mental and behavioral health, biological health, substance use, and social outcomes in adulthood. ACEs have cumulative effects, in which a higher number of ACEs leads to a higher risk for negative outcomes. However, ACEs and their consequences can be prevented through policies that support children and families. Research also shows that many people who experience ACEs can build resiliency through individual, family, and community protective factors.