ABCs of ACEs

Interviewed by Kellie J. Johnson

Caitlin LaVine and H. Clay Walker V are Louisiana educators on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). LaVine is the trauma and resilience strategy lead with the Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health. Walker is the director of juvenile services for Caddo Parish.

Johnson: What are ACEs?
LaVine: ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. The term is from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, a major California healthcare provider. The research team surveyed 17,000 adults about a certain set of 10 childhood experiences — emotional abuse, emotional neglect, physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, mental illness, incarcerated parent, substance abuse, parental divorce or separation, and domestic violence. The researchers found that, as the number of types of adverse experiences increased prior to the age of 18, individuals experienced a much higher risk for multiple chronic diseases, higher risk of homelessness and unemployment, lower educational achievement, higher risk of substance abuse, and higher rates of relationship conflict and domestic violence — all kinds of things relating to physical, emotional and social hardships.

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Louisiana Bar Journal August / September 2022

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