- This paper by David Finkelhor found that “overall, there appear to have been more historical and recent improvements in the burden of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) than deteriorations in the 20th and 21st centuries.”
- Results: “Available trend data on ACEs from the 20th century show multi-decade declines in parental death, parental illness, sibling death, and poverty, but multi-decade increases in parental divorce, parental drug abuse and parental incarceration. More recent trend data on ACEs for the first fifteen to eighteen years of the 21st century show declines in parental illness, sibling death, exposure to domestic violence, childhood poverty, parental divorce, serious childhood illness, physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical and emotional bullying and exposure to community violence. Two 21st century ACE increases were for parental alcohol and drug abuse. Overall, there appear to have been more historical and recent improvements in ACEs than deteriorations. But the US still lags conspicuously behind other developed countries on many of these indicators.”
Making Connections: Early Childhood Experiences, Early Learning & Lifelong Health from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child
- We know that early experiences, relationships, and environments matter. The latest science shows us just how much: We now know more clearly than ever how the conditions and environments in which young children develop affect lifelong health as well as brain architecture and early learning. Poor nutrition, exposure to pollutants, and high levels of family stress associated with poverty, racism, and other forms of economic or social marginalization can all have disruptive effects on the brain and immune, metabolic, and cardiovascular systems. Excessive inflammationin these systems can lead to adult health impairments like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, and even depression and dementia. We also know that these conditions and the resulting health problems are experienced disproportionately by families of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more obvious.
- Two recent presentations and a suite of resources from the Center can help you get informed and take action:
- Leveraging Advances in Science to Strengthen the Early Foundations of Both Learning and Health
Hear the science straight from Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., along with presentations from experts on birth disparities and early childhood policies, in three brief presentations at the inaugural National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit. Also features a panel discussion among the experts and examples of different approaches from state policymakers.
- Connecting Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health in a COVID-19 World
View this "crash course" in 21st-century science and how it can help us understand the COVID-19 pandemic from Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., given during the "Protecting Our Children: COVID-19’s Impact on Early Childhood and ACEs" webinar, presented by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. Also features presentation and discussion with experts on community-driven ACEs initiatives and trauma-informed health care.