The Early Intervention Foundation has published a report on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), relevantly promoted by the Children&Young People Now platform. The authors look at what we know about the ACE classification (e.g. physical/sexual/domestic/family substance abuse), the validity of the methodologies used to define adverse experiences, and the effectiveness of ACE screenings and other professional routine interventions.
Some key findings include:
- Public services tend to ignore social and economic factors such as the impact of poverty on children, and of crimes or other violent acts in their neighbourhoods.
- Less focus is put on disability, bullying and discrimination.
- More trainings are needed for professionals on the links between child experiences and trauma.
- Prevention and support for overcoming adverse experiences do not imply quick fixes.
- Clear gaps exist in the way professionals identify, access and provide support to children with ACEs.
- ACE screenings and testing might contribute to a process of re-traumatisation, especially when effective services are missing.
- More research is needed in order to attain the ACE screening methods` advantages and disadvantages.
- Recommendations for better support include intensive home visits, mental health support and school programmes connected to children`s behaviour.