Policy Resource

Wisconsin Home Visiting Programs Address Adverse Early Childhood Experiences

Feb 9, 2016

The Childhood Experiences Survey, an 11-question ACE survey, is now being administered to all families enrolled in Wisconsins MIECHV programs.

Wisconsin early childhood leaders believe that the ACE survey can help home visitors empower parents and promote resilience in all children.

Building on the seminal findings from the Adverse Early Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Childrens Trust Fund have examined ways to translate this knowledge into policy and practice. The Wisconsin Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is undertaking multiple efforts to advance understanding of adverse experiences during childhood and to promote trauma-informed practices.

The Childhood Experiences Survey (CES), an 11-question ACE survey included in the CDCs Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), is now being administered to all families enrolled in Wisconsin’s MIECHV programs within the first 90 days of participation. Wisconsin early childhood leaders believe that home visitors need to know how to use that trauma information in case planning to help parents realize their strengths and promote resilience in their children. Supervisors are trained to support their staff as they administer the CES. Mental health consultants also work with the home visitors to help them understand the impact of current and historical trauma on parents. During the 2015 state conference, home visitors met in regional groups to explore the home visitors’ experiences in talking with parents about traumatic experiences. In response to a concern that assessment might be a burden for programs and home visiting staff, Wisconsin created an Implementation Advisory Network to build a crosswalk of the many assessments used by the home visiting programs in order to streamline the process.

The state is also building its reflective supervision capacity, linking infant mental health consultants to each home visiting program, and growing a cadre of mental health providers with the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health Endorsement at Level III or IV. In addition, home visitors are engaged in reviewing program data and creating a plan for how the data can shape practice and lead to improved trauma-informed services.

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