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Fact Sheet
April 2019

Working Group on Child Health, Early Childhood, and Adverse Childhood Experiences Principles

Early experiences matter. They shape a child’s developmental trajectory and lifelong health and wellbeing. All too often children are exposed to adverse experiences such as abuse, living with a parent who suffers from mental illness or struggling with substance abuse, violence-in-their-home-or-community, or other challenging events. While these Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are common and seen across wealthy and poor families, data show ACEs are more concentrated in under-resourced communities struggling with racism, economic hardship, or neighborhood or community violence among other challenges.

Nearly half of U.S. children have at least one ACE, and 10 percent have experienced three or more, putting them at extremely high risk for negative health outcomes both in the short term and into adulthood. Well over half of black children and 51 percent of Latino children experience one or more ACEs compared with 40 percent of white children. Data also suggest that LGBTQ and other marginalized populations may experience disproportionately higher incidences of ACEs and are more likely to lack supports, such as strong schools, that can help mitigate the impact of ACEs. With such large numbers of children experiencing ACEs, and at higher rates for children of color and other marginalized populations, addressing factors that impact their healthy development is critical.

In 2018, Families USA launched the Working Group on Child Health, Early Childhood and ACEs, a new, cross-sector group composed of partners from national organizations with deep expertise in child health, health system financing, early childhood, education, child welfare, and juvenile justice who are working together to leverage our collective knowledge and experience to develop and advance a federal policy agenda around ACEs prevention and mitigation. 

Our Working Group represents an ongoing, collaborative effort to develop and advance solutions that prevent and mitigate ACEs, promote resilience, and support the healthy development of children. We are working together to apply our collective expertise and experience to advance health and health care financing policies around ACEs prevention and mitigation. Read more about our Working Group and the Principles that will be guiding our work.