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Perspectives From the United States and Australia on Adverse Childhood Experiences and School Behavioral Health  

Author:  Melissa Strompolis.; Jennifer Payne.; Aylin Ulker.; Lee Porter.; Mark D. Weist.

Source: Volume 17, Number 01, Winter 2017 , pp.19-24(6)

Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth 2017

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Studies on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have reframed how researchers, providers, and practitioners understand poor adult health and social outcomes and their key determinants in childhood. For example, children who experience exposure to parental mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and/or separation/divorce have an increased risk for a range of problems in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The work of the original ACE Study in documenting the dose-response relationship between the number of ACEs experienced in childhood and problems experienced subsequently in life has altered how services are provided to children and families and informed prevention efforts. Furthermore, the ACE Study findings are being incorporated into other relevant movements and paradigms, both within and outside of the United States. For example, the movement toward effective school behavioral health (SBH) services, both in the United States and Australia has intentionally partnered with ACE Initiatives to better meet the needs of children and youth with emotional/behavioral problems and their families. This article provides an overview of the original ACE Study and key themes within the SBH movement. It reviews ways to link ACE and SBH initiatives with the Paper Tigers® documentary and discusses connections between ACE and SBH projects in the southeastern region of the United States and the western region of Australia. The article concludes with a review of implications and future directions for practice, research, and policy related to ACE-SBH connections.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experiences, children and adolescents, school behavioral health, emotional/behavioral functioning

Affiliations:  1: Children’s Trust of South Carolina; 2: Department of Education, Western Australia; 3: University of South Carolina; 4: Children’s Trust of South Carolina; 5: University of South Carolina.

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