Preventing adverse childhood experiences requires us to reduce stress on families and foster safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments for children.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful and potentially traumatizing events that take place in childhood. They can include abuse, neglect and family challenges such as living with a parent with mental illness or witnessing domestic violence.

Adversity in childhood also stems from colonialism, racism, poverty, lack of stable housing and weak community supports. Environmental adversity like climate change, wildfires, flooding and pandemics all contribute to stress experienced by families.

Children who experience multiple adverse childhood experiences have a higher chance of depression, substance use and chronic disease as adults.

Positive childhood experiences and relationships increase children’s ability to cope with those challenges. The more positive experiences a child has, the more likely they are to experience good health throughout their life.

Four areas of action to enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors for adverse childhood experiences 

  • 1. Build connected and inclusive communities

    • Support families with access to employment, housing and health and social services

    • Ensure all children and parents feel they belong in their communities

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  • 2. Provide opportunities for social emotional development

    • Build children’s and caregivers’ skills to manage emotions and have healthy relationships
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  • 3. Promote reproductive health and rights

    • Enable people to be prepared for pregnancy and parenthood
    • Provide inclusive sexual and reproductive health services
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  • 4. Offer culturally responsive caregiving and supports

    • Reduce financial pressures on families
    • Provide consistent, practical and culturally appropriate parenting resources
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Join us in preventing adverse childhood experiences in our communities. Contact to learn more.

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