New Jersey’s efforts to address childhood trauma took a major step forward on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 with the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and to encourage people statewide to get involved in prevention and healing activities.
The centerpiece of the campaign is the new Actions 4 ACEs website, funded by The Burke Foundation, one of the members of the New Jersey ACEs Collaborative, a public-private partnership that also consists of The Nicholson Foundation, the Turrell Fund, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF).
ACEs are stressful or traumatic events that occur before the age of 18 and can lead to lifelong physical, mental, and emotional damage. ACEs include experiences such as divorce and witnessing parental violence. Adverse community events such as poverty and systemic racism can further compound the effects of ACEs.
The Actions 4 ACEs campaign was formally unveiled during a virtual press conference that featured New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Executive Director of DCF’s Office of Resilience Dave Ellis, as well as speakers representing the Office of the Attorney General, and law enforcement officers and educators working in New Jersey.
The initial target audiences for the campaign are educators and law enforcement officers, with the goal of informing both groups about what ACEs are and what steps they can take to address them and lessen their impact. The campaign complements and builds on other efforts already underway that the New Jersey ACEs Collaborative has been leading to make the state a trauma-informed, healing-centered place, where children and families can thrive regardless of who they are or where they live.