Communities must help children living in crisis
Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) was published by Centers for Disease Control in the late 1990s. Followup studies have shown direct impact on half of all that ills us, including cancer. The 10-question survey does not include violence outside the home and discrimination. In addition to poverty and joblessness these all contributes to higher ACE scores. If you score six or higher, this will take 20 years off your life if left untreated.
How it works is when a child is being traumatized, she goes into fight or flight. Because of this continuous stress her immune system attacks the body. This includes all auto immune diseases and cancers. I find asthma as a huge indicator of child adversity. We all produce cancer cells. A healthy immune system attacks these cells.
Life on the East Side has been normalized and not only there, but all of America. The way we are loving our children is not working. We are harming our children in the way we love them.
The original study included over 17,000 mainly white, college educated and upper middle class. Result: Before a child’s 18th birthday: emotional abuse 11%, physical abuse 28%, sexual abuse 21%, emotional neglect 15%, physical neglect 10%, (household challenges) mother treated violently 13%, substance abuse 27%, mental illness 19%, separated from a parent 23%, incarcerated household member 5%.
The ultimate goal is to stop violence before it begins. Prevention requires understanding the factors that influence violence. I strongly suggest readers should go to the CDC’s website and search ACES. A great website for how other communities are dealing with ACES and resources is AcesConnection.com.
Peter A. Chiavetta