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LETTER: Dealing with Adverse Childhood Experiences []

By Chuck Taylor, April 23,2020

Dear Editor: In the late nineties, the Kaiser institute completed a study called the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) study.

The findings of the study demonstrated an association between physical, mental, and emotional health problems over a lifespan with childhood trauma such as abuse, witnessing domestic violence and neglect. The study showed that the more ACEs a person endured, the higher their probability of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and diabetes. Furthermore, the study linked ACEs with high risk behaviors such smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity, and poor diet. The study has served as a springboard to promote trauma informed communities and systems and it is a potent reminder of the cost of child abuse.

In northeast Georgia, children are being abused and neglected on a daily basis. These ACEs that are occurring now may feel very distant to most people. Perhaps the abuse is unseen or intentionally ignored to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation between neighbors or relatives. Perhaps it is that a person does not know how to intervene so they abstain from acting at all. This is a common phenomenon in an emergency where everyone on an accident scene thinks that someone else called 911 but no one did. Regardless, eventually all chickens come home to roost and our communities will deal one way or another with the abuse of children in our community. We will do so through health care. We will do so through social services, disability funds, unemployment, and public housing. We will do so with our crime rates and our schools. We will see these failings in our workforce and our homeless shelters. But if we become a trauma informed community, if we all work to stop abuse then we can make a huge difference for all of the children that will one day take the reins.

The idiom β€œa stitch in time saves nine” is one a resilient, trauma informed community will live by.

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