Effective Trauma Reduction in Washington State – New York Times
Residents of Washington believe in partnerships because they know it takes a community to raise a child.
In the late 1990s, two researchers, Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, sought to examine the effects of trauma among the young, or so-called adverse childhood experiences. In what is now known widely as the ACE Study. They asked participants if they had witnessed violence against their mother, or if a parent had been an alcoholic, or had a mental illness or been incarcerated, then assigned each an “ACE score” of zero to 10.
What they found was alarming. Compared with people with ACE scores of zero (about a third of study participants), people with ACE scores of four or above (about an eighth of the total) had substantially higher risks of failing in school, abusing alcohol or drugs, having sex as a teenager, becoming depressed, committing suicide, and developing a chronic illness.
Last week, researchers released the results of a three-year study examining five Washington State community networks. The communities proved effective in reducing the “long-term social, emotional and physical problems related to abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences.” Improved graduation rates were recorded in Walla Walla, reductions in prenatal smoking and alcohol use by mothers, and fewer infants born at low or very low birth weights in Skagit, and reduced alcohol use among teenagers in Okanogan, Verbitsky-Savitz said. What’s more, the communities had built up their own capacity to create productive partnerships and coalitions, establish shared goals, and use evidence-based approaches to make progress.
Read the full article here.