As you point out, adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, affect us all. We likely all know someone who has experienced an ACE, like family addiction, abuse, divorce, witnessing community violence or experiencing racial discrimination. One in six Americans have experienced four or more ACEs. Children at our facility, the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, have an average of six to seven ACEs. And yes, thought leaders are starting to pay attention to decades of research showing that addressing childhood trauma can help prevent poor health and social outcomes, addiction, incarceration and even early death.
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen and the office of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings are on the vanguard of elected officials who are legislating ways to build networks of trauma-responsive institutions and agencies. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the making. This good news has been slow to spread, but thank you for helping to spread it.
The writer is director of government relations and legal services of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.