Traumatic experiences include all types of abuse and neglect, as well as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence that adversely impact the lives of children and, unless treated by caring adults around them, follow them throughout their lives.
This startling reality was detailed in Oprah Winfrey’s report, “Treating Childhood Trauma” on the popular CBS News program 60 Minutes.
The broadcast also was most heartening, featuring an interview with Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., who described his pioneering work on “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACE). He also talked about some of what is being done to help those who have suffered traumatic events occurring before age 18.
Dr. Perry is a longtime friend of Spaulding for Children. He also has partnered with Spaulding, helping develop two new programs.
A landmark study by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services found a significant relationship between the number of ACEs a person experienced and a variety of negative outcomes in adulthood, including poor physical and mental health, substance abuse, and risky behaviors. The more ACEs experienced, the greater the risk for these outcomes.
By definition, children in the child welfare system have suffered at least one ACE. Recent studies have shown that, in comparison to the general population, these children are far more likely to have experienced at least four ACEs (42 percent vs. 12.5 percent).
These issues were central concerns at the formation of Spaulding for Children in 1968. In the half century since then, Spaulding has become recognized as a leader in providing emotional support and social services to children who have suffered from psychological and physical trauma – and helping develop evidence-based programs to help children and adoptive families cope with ACEs.
You can see the segment here.