JCCN graphic.gif   Jefferson County Community Network


                                         “Working together to help children, youth and families succeed”



The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study

The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study looks at the impact of traumatic childhood experiences and how they negatively influence society’s health and social problems. Understanding the impact of ACEs is key to breaking the intergenerational cycles of costly negative health and social outcomes. Creating a common language and shared understanding of ACEs across community systems that support children and families is critical to prevent substance abuse, high-risk behaviors and poor health outcomes. Policies and practices that focus on prevention/reduction of ACEs and interventions/treatment that build resiliency are crucial to health care reform and the health and well-being of our community.



                                                                                                                        Chart from

"Shifting the ways that government relates to and supports families, communities and private partners will help orchestrate promotion of universal wellbeing, prevention of health problems, expansion of natural supports for chronic disease management and optimize health in the next generation.”

-from Washington State’s Family Policy Council ()

Jefferson County & the ACE Study

In 2005, the Jefferson County  Community Network (JCCN) formally began utilizing the Adverse Childhood   Experience (ACE) Study as a foundation for its work to prevent substance abuse and prevent child abuse and neglect.  Under the guidance of Washington State’s Family Policy Council (FPC), the JCCN emphasized (through community trainings, public outreach campaigns and participation on community boards and workgroups) that this continually developing research, and the corresponding scientific advancements in brain research and epidemiology are crucial factors to take into consideration when addressing the community’s social and health problems.  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect people on all levels the personal level, immediate family, extended family, peer groups, at school, professionally, community-wide, state-wide, nationally and beyond.


We are very fortunate that a great number of our local community leaders and residents spent time learning about the ACE Study.  It is common to hear our community leaders and service providers mention the ACE Study frequently when discussing our community’s social and health problems.  But, as this research and the findings are still considered “newer”, the most common question is, “What do we do with this information now that we know?”


There is not a list of “Best Practices” when it comes to working with the impact of ACEs.  As family members, friends, service providers and community leaders, we want THE solution.  We want positive outcomes and outputs.  Honestly, we often want the “magic pill” to make everything better…  But, this is challenging, again, at all levelsundefinedhow do you deal with an individual who is impacted by ACEs?  How do you deal with a family impacted by ACEs? How do our schools respond when ACEs affect every classroom?  How do service providers respond (are they able to only “stop the bleeding, but not understand the source”)?  How do governmental and community leaders allocate (continually diminishing) resources to effectively PREVENT, INTERVENE and TREAT negative social and health outcomes?

The JCCN recognizes there is a gap between the scientific findings and relaying this into policy and practice, but remains committed to bringing the community together to continue learning, to continue exploring ways to utilize the information and to assist in the creation of policies and practices that: prevent and reduce ACEs; prevent social, emotional and cognitive impairment; reduce substance abuse and other high risk behaviors; and prevent poor health outcomes. 


Additional Resources & Web Sites

For more information about the ACEs study, please see:

Articles & Publications

February, 2011--An article from New Yorker Magazine

The Poverty Clinic: Can a stressful childhood make you a sick adult?

July, 2010-- Adverse Childhood Experiences & Population Health in Washington:

The Face of a Chronic Public Health Disaster

Please click here to access:



Jefferson County Communty Network

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