10 Adverse Childhood Experiences

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Have you heard about ACEs? ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. This is an acronym commonly used all over the country, but it is something that many people are focused on right here in Wayne and Union Counties. As a matter of fact, we played an important role in the Wayne County Cares event last year to educate our community about ACEs, and you can learn more about this effort by visiting this article. According to the CDC 1 in 6 adults experienced four or more types of ACEs.

ACEs are traumas that children 18 years and younger experience during their most critical developmental years.  The CDC reports females and several racial/ethnic minority groups are at greater risk for experiencing four or more ACEs.

An ACE score is determined by answering a 10-question survey about events that happened by a person’s 18th birthday.  Examples of events that contribute to having an ACE score are – divorce, do members in your household abuse drugs or alcohol, and do you have enough to eat. In.Gov’s dashboard reports Wayne County is ranked 4th highest out of 92 counties in Indiana in Opioid deaths. Additionally, according to Feeding America’s dashboard, 14% of Union County kids are food insecure. Both of these are Adverse Childhood Experiences. Lastly, these traumas can follow them into adulthood and for some it negatively impacts their lives.

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ACEs Follow Children to Adulthood 

Children don’t get to choose the situations that they grow up in, which is why many children experience situations that have lifelong effects. The term ACE was coined by the Centers for Disease Control, describing the adversity children face in their homes. Additionally, the study by the CDC found that the middle-class population was more likely to experience ACEs. There was also a correlation between experiencing ACEs and having poor outcomes later in life, such as increased health risks, poor academic success and time out of work. Learn more about the disparities in health and income.   

Because the effects of ACE can be long-term, it is essential to know what types of ACEs there are and what is being done in Wayne and Union counties to reduce them. With the help of organizations like Reid Health awareness is spreading that things that happen during a child’s life continue to have aftershocks through adulthood. 

10 Adverse Childhood Experiences 

10 Adverse Childhood Experiences can be found in many situations. Below are the 10 factors in determining an ACE score. Five are personal and the other five are related to family members. If you are interested in your ACE score, check out this article. There are undoubtedly different types of traumas that children face. While they are not included in ACE scoring system, this does not invalidate their experience. All kinds of childhood trauma can lead to stressors that prevent adults from thriving. The ACE scoring system is simply a gauge used to help identify situations facing children. Keep reading to learn more about the 10 types.   

  1.  Physical Abuse: Physical abuse occurs when nonaccidental harm is inflicted including injuries like bruises, lesions, or fractures.  
  1. Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is sexual exploitation of a child. 
  1. Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is behavior that interferes with a child’s mental health. This includes verbal abuse, mental abuse and psychological maltreatment. 
  1. Physical Neglect: Physical neglect is failing to provide for a child’s basic needs. This includes not providing food, clothing, shelter, or medical attention.  
  1. Emotional Neglect: Emotional neglect is the failure to meet a child’s emotional needs. This includes failing to social support or needed mental health treatment. 
  1. Mental Illness: Living with a caretaker who has untreated mental illness has a big impact on a child. Depending on their disorder a parent may not adequately care for a child. 
  1. Incarcerated Relative: Children with an incarcerated relative are more likely to grow up in a single parent household. This can be a challenge for a family and a child may experience trauma or abandonment. 
  1. Mother Treated Violently: Violence in the home is a traumatic experience for all children. For example, children seeing their mother assaulted by another caregiver is a long-lasting trauma. 
  1. Substance Abuse: Substance use can lead to unsafe conditions for children. Other ACEs like abuse and violence are associated with substance abuse 
  1. Divorce: Divorce can impact children negatively. This can expose children to trauma including fighting, feeling like they are the reason for the divorce or the children may feel ignored.  
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Adverse Childhood Experiences in Wayne and Union Counties 

Two focus areas at United Way of Whitewater Valley are childhood success and youth success. The reason for this is that we know the impact that childhood has on a person. We support many organizations that help children and families to improve their situation. Each one is essential to preventing and reducing the 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences in the lives of children.   

Amigos Latino Center – empowers the Latinx community so they can engage actively in Richmond and Wayne County to promote learning, cooperation and respect across cultures.  

Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne Counties – inspires and enables all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.  

Communities In Schools of Wayne County – surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.  

Future Achievers – enhances the future educational, vocational, and civic engagement of high school students by increasing their financial literacy skills, developing their knowledge of higher education and enhancing their self-esteem.   

Girls Inc. Wayne County – inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy.  

Junior Achievement of Wayne Counties – inspires and prepares young people to succeed. The inspiration piece comes from community volunteers who not only deliver lessons, but share their experiences.  

Richmond Family YMCA – strengthens communities in the areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  

The Reading Academy – ensures that every Third Grader in Richmond knows how to read at grade level by the end of third grade. 

Learn More About United Way of Whitewater Valley 

Join us in our fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in Wayne and Union counties by donating today. There is a lot of work to be done which means we need your help to make positive changes in our community.   

Get to know more about our program partners working in our four focus areas: childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, and access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do at United Way of Whitewater Valley.