Building Resilience in Children and Families

for Long-Term Holistic Health



By 2020, Newark will be a trauma-informed city that works to build resilience in children and families for better health outcomes.



of the poor in Essex County are Newark residents

premature deaths occur in Essex County under the age of 75 per 100,000 population


of Newark Children lived in extreme poverty in 2013, which is 50% below FPL


Essentials for Childhood Fact Sheet

Essentials for Childhood

Building Community Commitment for Safe, Stable, Nurturing Environments

ACE Infographic from CDC

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

In 1998, researchers from Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a landmark article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine entitled, “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study”.  The study showed a direct correlation between exposure to adverse experiences during childhood and the risk of early death.  Adverse Childhood Experiences were correlated with the development of ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung  disease, skeletal fractures, liver disease, depression and suicide attempts in adulthood.  

The County Health Rankings developed by the University of Wisconsin in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked Essex County as #20 of 21 New Jersey counties for both Length of Life and Quality of Life, bundled as Health Outcomes, for 2016.  Essex County has a premature death rate of 7,200 deaths under age 75 per 100,000 population.  The premature death rate for NJ as a whole is 5,500/100,000 and the top US performers rate is 5,200/100,000.  Since Newark is the largest and one of the poorest cities in Essex County it is fair to assume that a substantial proportion of these premature deaths are occurring in Newark.  Further, two publications from the American Academy of Pediatrics in March 2016 entitled, “Poverty and Child Health in the US” and “Mediators and Effects of Child Poverty” clearly document the adverse health consequences of poverty on children and adults.  These reports also reinforce the fact that living in poverty is in and of itself an adverse childhood experience.  Advocates for Children in New Jersey report that from 2009 to 2013, median income for Newark families with children decreased. Unfortunately, the number of families receiving welfare assistance also decreased during that same time period.  In 2013, 20% of Newark children lived in extreme poverty (Below 50% of FPL) compared to 11% of children in Essex County and 8% of children in the state as a whole.  Newark’s poor residents represent nearly 60% of the poor in Essex County. On the other hand, Newark’s total population represents 35% of the total population of Essex County. These data combined with the high rates of homicide and violence  in the city create an environment that is fraught with adverse experiences for children living in Newark and does not portend well for their subsequent health status as adults.

In April 2016, the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition was awarded a grant from the Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. for a project entitled, “Advancing Adoption of Trauma-Informed Approaches to Care”. This grant allows GNHCC to partner with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care to extend trauma informed services and training to medical providers, elementary school staff, and children and families in need of care.

The ACEs Impact Team is partnering with GNHCC and are building upon the work of the grant by engaging university faculty and researchers, community-based advocates and organizations to develop interventions that can reduce the incidence of adverse experiences for Newark children and provide emotional and behavioral interventions that will help mitigate the adverse effects on adults who have experienced ACE’s.


Lead Remediation and Education in Fairmount Heights and Clinton Hill

Our team encompasses approximately fifty members from the education and youth development, healthcare and criminal justice fields that meet quarterly to share new insights and discuss progress.  To optimize our effectiveness, we have created three working groups focused on:

  • Community Education
  • Concrete Interventions and Support
  • Workforce Training & Capacity Building

These groups are currently working on the following programs.

Adopting a Racial Equity Lens

This program is a result of a $25,000 grant from the Schumann Fund for NJ to explore ways to incorporate racial equity in trauma-informed care to help practitioners understand how health disparities are linked to social, economic and environmental disadvantages. 

As part of this program we:

  • Hosted a 2 ½ day Undoing Racism training
  • Organized 2 pre-training sessions
    • An introductory look at the connections between health and race
    • Panel discussion on the ways race and racism shows up in our work
  • Facilitated debriefing meeting with Undoing Racism trainers
    • Key themes – “structural racism” and “gate keepers”
    • Identified guiding principles to model Camden Healing 10’s campaign
  • Are preparing a whitepaper to summarize experience and lessons learned

Racial equity + trauma informed care = A resilient and thriving Newark!

Engaging Youth as Peer Educators

This program is a result of a $10,000 Roadmaps Action Accelerator grant to design and implement a Youth Healing Team pilot with 8 students at Shabazz High School in partnership with My Brother’s Keeper in Newark.

As part of this program we:

  • Created the train-the-trainer curriculum modeled after Hopeworks ‘N Camden
  • Launched the program in January 2018 with 11 students
  • Had the students meet twice per week after school to learn about trauma, ACEs and how to build resiliency through creative expression and other resiliency building activities
  • Gave each student a monthly stipend of $100 to develop a social media campaign, conduct school based presentations for their peers and host at least 1 community event or activity