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Why the ACEs Study Matters: Implications for Serving Those that Have Experienced Trauma and Adversity

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. Why does this matter? What are the implications for ministry with those who have experienced trauma and adversity? Is there a role for the Church in preventing ACEs? 

Watch it on YouTube here:

Download Tara's powerpoint: Trauma and the Brain at this link.

Download the word document: Resources for Trauma Adversity at this link.

Our special guest was Tara Boer, certified ACEs instructor, who has taught in the Social Work department at Dordt University for the past 9 years. Tara has also worked in residential settings for delinquent teens, a sexual abuse treatment center, and the child welfare system, serving families doing in-home and outpatient therapy. Tara says, “I find it meaningful to invest time in helping organizations and institutions understand how to best come alongside people that have experienced trauma and those that are suffering from mental illness.”

Tara is also thankful to be serving Classis Iakota and Classis Heartland as their Safe Church Coordinator. She has shared 14 years of marriage with her husband Scott and has four young children that keep them on our toes.

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). Examples include experiencing violence, abuse or neglect or witnessing violence. In addition, aspects of a child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety are also included, such as substance misuse and mental health issues.

The original ACEs study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and household challenges with a view toward the health implications later in life. Studies show that ACEs are common with almost 2/3 of people reporting at least one ACE. In addition, ACEs have long-term negative effects in health and well-being. Basically, as the number of ACEs increases so does the risk for negative outcomes.

The good news is that ACEs are preventable. Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families can prevent ACEs and help all children thrive.

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