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California Essentials for Childhood Initiative (CA)

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative uses a public health and collective impact approach to align and enhance collaborative efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, youth and families through systems, policy and social norms change.

Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Violence Prevention Research Award Recipients

   Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Violence Prevention Research Award Recipients 

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:


  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide
Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with: 
  • substance misuse
  • mental health problems
  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison 


Preventing ACEs is an Injury Center priority along with overdose prevention and suicide prevention. The Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) conducts research on the factors that put people at risk or protect them from violence and funds grantees to help evaluate the effectiveness of prevention strategies and how to adopt and disseminate prevention strategies. DVP will be funding three research recipients for three years working specifically on ACEs prevention. The first year of funding for all three projects is a combined total of $973,716. The following recipients were awarded:


Effectiveness of Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience (ACER) and Community Organizing for Preventing Youth Violence and ACEs

Institution – Research Triangle Institute; Principal Investigator – Dr. Phillip Graham




Community disadvantage and disorganization are risk factors for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can negatively affect children’s physical and behavioral health. The Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience (ACER) violence prevention framework implemented in Milwaukee will be evaluated for its prevention of child abuse and neglect and youth violence. The comparative effectiveness of ACER with community organizing strategies will be examined in four communities along with implementation barriers and facilitators. Findings could inform approaches to strengthen community resilience and prevent multiple forms of violence experienced by youth.

The Impact of an Adapted Version of the Strengthening Families Program on Reducing IPV Among Caregivers and ACEs Among Their Children

Institution – University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Principal Investigator – Dr. Katie Edwards

Violence disproportionately affects American Indian and low-income communities, and few prevention approaches break the cycle of violence in high-risk families. Cultural adaptations and integration of multiple approaches, including the Strengthening Families Program, economic empowerment, and bystander interventions, will result in a program called Was’ake Tiwahe (Lakota for “strong families”). The program will be pilot tested and rigorously evaluated with a randomized controlled trial in Rapid City, South Dakota. Impacts on youth’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and intimate partner violence experienced by their caregivers will be assessed before, immediate post-, and 8-months following implementation of the program. Program development and evaluation results have the potential to advance dual generation violence prevention approaches and address gaps in approaches for vulnerable populations.

Policy Strategies for the Prevention of Multiple Forms of Violence Against Children and Youth

Institution – Prevent Child Abuse America; Principal Investigator – Dr. Jeffry Klika

Addressing the conditions in which families and children live, particularly during high-risk periods, could improve health and safety. The effects of paid family leave and early childcare policies, such as the provision of subsidies and preschool, will be rigorously evaluated for their impacts on child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence. Variations by race/ethnicity and effects on risk factors, such as poverty and unemployment, will be examined. Results could inform policy approaches and help families provide safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.

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