Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) with HOPE presents evidence for HOPE—Health Outcomes of Positive Experiences, a framework that studies and promotes positive child and family well-being—based on newly-released data that reinforce the need to promote positive experiences for children and families to foster healthy childhood development despite the adversity common in so many families.

These new data:

  • Establish a spirit of hope and optimism and make the case that positive experiences have lasting impact on human development and functioning, without ignoring well-documented concerns related to toxic environments
  • Demonstrate, through science, the powerful contribution of positive relationships and experiences to the development of healthy children and adults
  • Describe actions related to current social norms regarding parenting practices, particularly those associated with healthy child development. These actions are based on data that suggest that American adults are willing to intervene personally to prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Reflect upon the positive returns on investment that our society can expect as we make changes in policies, practices, and future research to support positive childhood environments that foster the healthy development of children

Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) with HOPE contributes to a growing body of work—the Science of Thriving—that encourages us to better understand and support optimal child health and development.

To assist with getting the vast knowledge of positive childhood experiences into policies, practices, and systems to realize lasting change, investigators recommend in the report that efforts by pediatricians, early childhood educators, state and local governments move beyond screening and referral for problems, and enter into partnerships with parents to support them in raising their children.

Other recommendations include advancing a positive construct of health and the HOPE framework, and investing in science-aligned interventions that support positive parenting practices.

Jennifer Jones, director of child and family systems innovation at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, co-authored this report, and Alliance President and CEO Susan Dreyfus served as a reviewer.

Download Balancing ACEs with HOPE 
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Published in Children's Justice Act

FRIENDS has released its first podcast: Historical Trauma Among African Americans, ACES, and Resilience

The traumatic history of African Americans, how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) compound multi-generational trauma, and what hope looks like are considered in this podcast.

Three experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Child Traumatic Stress Center, NC State University, and a local Head Start Program provide evidenced-based information on ACES, historical trauma and bias, and how hope and resilience play a role in mitigating these hardships in African American families. Listen to learn about adjustments practitioners can make to improve trust and inclusiveness in programs services.

Follow the link, to listen to the podcast and explore additional resources:

We hope you enjoy listening and find it useful for your work and in other environments.

Thank you to Melissa Merrick at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Isaiah Pickens at the UCLA National Child Trauma Stress Network, and Deric Boston with NC State University and Durham Head Start Programs for contributing.

Valerie Spiva Collins, Director

FRIENDS National Center for CBCAP

(919) 388-2266

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Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Get Strategies to Improve Health, Well-Being, and Opportunities for Children and Adults

CDC invites you to explore Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences, a new online training to help understand, recognize, and prevent ACEs.

ACEs affect children and families across all communities. They can have long-term effects on health, wellness, and life opportunities for adults. The good news is ACEs are preventable.

Develop knowledge and insights to prevent ACEs. Training topics include:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences, Brain Development, and Toxic Stress
  • The ACE Study
  • Prevalence and Consequences of ACEs
  • Risk and Protective Factors for ACEs
  • Essentials for Childhood: Assuring Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments

Learn more about how to create healthier lives for all children in this accredited training. Continuing Education Units are available.


Learn More

Published in Children's Justice Act