CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES

ADVERSE

Building Resilience in Children and Families
for Long-Term Holistic Health

OUR GOAL

Newark will be recognized as a trauma-informed city that works to unlock people’s fullest potential and to build resilience in children and families for better health outcomes.

Frequently used Terms

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years) such as experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect; witnessing violence in the home; and having a family member attempt or die by suicide. Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with substance misuse, mental health problems, or instability due to parental separation or incarceration of a parent, sibling or other member of the household. (CDC definition).

Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening with lasting adverse effects on physical, social emotional, or spiritual well-being (From NJ ACES action plan; SAMHSA).

The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Whether it is considered an outcome, a process, or a capacity, the essence of resilience is a positive, adaptive response in the face of significant adversity. Resilience transforms potentially toxic stress into tolerable stress. In the final analysis, resilience is rooted in both the physiology of adaptation and the experiences we provide for children (From ACES Connection).

A resilience-building set of practices (restorative practices) that are reparative, inclusive, and balanced. Restorative justice emphasizes repairing harm, inviting all affected to talk together to figure out how to do so, and giving equal attention to community safety, victim’s needs, and offender accountability and growth (from ACES Connection).

Self-healing communities build capacity to intentionally generate new cultural norms and thereby improve health, safety, and productivity for current and future generations. They improve rates of many interrelated and intergenerational health and social problems by investing in the people most at risk and reducing and preventing adverse childhood experiences. (From ACES Connection).

Are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live and work affect how they develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. These circumstances—an individual’s neighborhood, family, education, race, gender, class background, diet, workplace, and access to health care, for instance—are in turn shaped by a larger set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics

OUR STRATEGIES

1
Convening partners
2
Aligning efforts
3
Testing innovative strategies 

At its outset, the Team chose to adopt a prevention framework and implemented related tools used by the Child Welfare Information Gateway to understand what could be done at the primary (e.g., raising awareness), secondary (e.g., targeted prevention programs) and tertiary prevention levels (e.g., intervention services such as mental health counseling)

OUR PRIORITIES

ADOPTION OF A STANDARDIZED LANGUAGE AND CONCEPTUALIZATION FRAMEWORK FOR TRAUMA

RAISING AWARENESS OF TRAUMA AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

ADVANCING ORGANIZATIONAL PRACTICES THAT RECOGNIZE THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA AND REORIENT THE CULTURE OF ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS TO ADDRESS TRAUMA IN CONSUMERS AND PROVIDERS OF SERVICES THAT ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA ON INDIVIDUALS.

CURRENT WORK

We are a cross-sector collaborative of over thirty partners.  We meet bi-monthly on the fourth Monday of the month from 10 am – 11:30 am. For more information or to join the ACE Impact Team, please contact: bhncoordinator@uwnewark.org

We contributed to the creation of the NJ ACEs Strategic Plan, released in February of 2021, through member participation in individual interviews, sector-based focus groups, cross-sector focus groups, and learning labs. Our work in Newark is referenced in the Plan and we seek to align local efforts with the Plan’s statewide goals and strategies.

In 2018, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded multi-year funding to Newark Arts on behalf of the Newark Arts Education Roundtable (NAER) for its planned trauma-informed care work. NAER is partnering with two local organizations, ACE Impact Team lead organization Greater Newark Health Care Coalition and My Brother’s Keeper Newark. The initiative is focused on creating a shared learning community of both arts education and healthcare professionals, encouraging cross-sector partnerships, widening the reach of the arts into another collective impact initiative that also endeavors to improve the lives of children, and share best practices that exist in both sectors. A five part trauma training series for arts educators has been created and has trained 120 professionals to date and will be expanding to reach all Newark Public School arts educators by the end of the 2022 school year.

COVID-19 Response & Recovery

Virtual Wellness Retreat

In November of 2020, the ACE Impact Team partnered with Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss to host a half-day long virtual wellness retreat for families in the Newark community. The retreat was planned in partnership with Greater Newark Health Care Coalition, Believe in a Healthy Newark, the South Ward Promise Neighborhood Initiative, and Sanar Institute to help people create spaces in their daily routines to check in with themselves spiritually, mentally, and physically.

COVID-19 Vaccine Education

In January of 2021, BHN Chair Dr. Denise Rodgers provided a talk to the ACE Impact Team entitled “COVID-19 Vaccines – The Facts as We Know Them”. Discussion surfaced the notion that people fear the vaccine more than they fear contracting COVID-19. It was noted that there has been a longstanding lack of prioritization of Black men’s health, such that we now face an uphill climb to convince young and middle-aged Black men of the importance of the vaccine. Both young men and young women seem particularly resistant to the vaccine. How can we shift this dynamic? The Team was asked to consider “who are the messengers and leaders that will marshal people to action?” and to share ideas they may have about messaging, and strategies to deliver messages. There is agreement that the messengers must reflect the community and be knowledgeable, empathetic, and clear communicators. It will be important to get key leaders vaccinated for safety and credibility. A suggestion was made to engage youth, and especially ten and eleven year olds, in this process because children can be powerful educators and influencers of peer and adult behavior.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Essentials for Childhood Fact Sheet

Essentials for Childhood

Building Community Commitment for Safe, Stable, Nurturing Environments

ACE Infographic from CDC

A TIME TO HEAL

NJ ACES PLAN 2021
From generation to generation: the challenge facing Milwaukee and similar high-poverty cities goes beyond education, crime and jobs

PRIOR WORK