Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)

What are ACE’s?

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that occur during childhood. ACEs can have a significant impact on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental health throughout their life.

Although ACEs increase a person’s risk of certain health conditions and behaviors in adulthood, they do not guarantee them. With support, children who face adverse events can learn to manage their experiences and lead meaningful lives.

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:

  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • 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 use problems
  • mental health problems
  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. However, ACEs can be prevented.

Please note the examples above are not meant to be a complete list of adverse experiences. There are many other traumatic experiences that could impact health and wellbeing.

ACEs are common. About 61% of adults surveyed across 25 states reported that they had experienced at least one type of ACE, and nearly 1 in 6 reported they had experienced four or more types of ACEs.

Information provided by the CDC. More information on ACEs: