By the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Princeton, N.J.—New national data show that at least 38 percent of children in every state have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience or ACE, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has been suicidal or had a drug or alcohol problem. In 16 states, at least 25 percent of children have had two or more ACEs. Findings come from data in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health and an analysis conducted by the Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has collaborated with and supported the work of CAHMI and is working with CAHMI to release today’s data.
ACEs can have serious, long-term impacts on a child’s health and well-being by contributing to high levels of toxic stress that derail healthy physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Research shows that ACEs increase the long-term risk for smoking, alcoholism, depression, heart and liver diseases, and dozens of other illnesses and unhealthy behaviors. The new data show that 33 percent of children with two or more ACEs have a chronic health condition involving a special health care need, compared to 13.6 percent of children without ACEs.