Policy Resource

Vermont Takes Comprehensive Look at Responding to Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs)

Dec 7, 2017

Vermont passed legislation requiring the creation of an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Working Group to examine how the state could strengthen its response to ACEs.

In 2017, Vermont passed legislation requiring the creation of an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Working Group to examine how the state could strengthen its response to ACEs. The legislation encouraged colleges and universities to include information in their curricula about the impact of ACEs on physical and mental health so that professionals working in health, education, and social services are better prepared to support families. Vermont’s efforts were a response to research showing that one in eight Vermont children has experienced three or more ACEs. Children with three or more ACEs are at higher risk of experiencing difficulties in school and poorer health in adulthood.

The working group, comprised of six legislative members, met regularly over several months to assess how the state was building resilience in early childhood and to identify strategies for improving the state’s approach. Their findings were shared with the Agency of Human Services, which was charged with developing an ACEs response plan by January 2019.

The Childhood Adversity Response Plan addresses the integration of evidence-informed and family-focused prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals affected by childhood adversity. The responsibility for leading and evolving the plan resides with a newly created position, the Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development, who will shape the plan collaboratively with Agency of Human Services staff and stakeholders. To learn more about Vermont’s commitment to a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive system, please visit their website.

Revised July 2020

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