WHAT CAN WE DO?
This is an exciting time for Arizona. The growing body of knowledge about ACEs and their impacts holds promise for our state’s ability to improve its citizens’ lives.
Solutions are available, and they need to be implemented. The most effective treatment is to reduce young children’s exposure to adverse conditions, such as abuse, neglect, violence, or caregiver mental illness or substance abuse. However, even under stressful conditions, the negative consequences of toxic stress can be mitigated. Stable, nurturing relationships with caring adults can prevent or reverse the damaging effects of toxic stress. Therefore, this call to action must also be to create safe spaces and strong, healthy communities for children.
When it comes to legislation, Arizona-specific ACEs data will provide a powerful new tool for planning human services. Based on the findings of Arizona’s ACE Study, we recommend the following strategies to reduce ACEs and build stronger Arizona communities:
- Increase public understanding of ACEs and their impact on health and well-being;
- Enhance the capacity of families and providers to prevent and respond to ACEs;
- Improve the effectiveness of public-health campaigns by refining their messages regarding ACEs;
- Promote identification and early intervention of ACEs through universal screening or assessment within earlychildhood and family-service systems; and
- Continue to collect Arizonaspecific data on the relationship between ACEs, health outcomes and resilience.
How to respond to the new information on ACEs is a question requiring broad input at state and local levels, from public and private sectors, and from families, policymakers, health-care providers and educators. Through more effective prevention of ACEs, as well as better intervention with those who have already had adverse experiences, Arizona will enhance the lives of citizens so they can be healthier and more productive while also reducing the burden ACEs have on our economy, health and public-benefit systems.
The Arizona ACEs Consortium is a collaboration of more than one hundred individuals, state, county, and private organizations working together.
We are made up of professionals from all walks of life, united by a desire to help Arizona’s children.
It’s a big group, and we’re committed to making sure that all families have the opportunity to raise healthy children from the start, so that every child has the opportunity to thrive.