State joins adverse childhood experiences learning collaborative

September 10, 2020

Delaware was one of four states chosen by the National Governors Association to participate in a learning collaborative focused on recognizing and responding to adverse childhood experiences. 

The State of Delaware will join teams from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming in the Improving Well-being and Success of Children and Families – Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences Learning Collaborative through the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. This initiative will provide Delaware with access to 10 months of technical assistance, engagement with trauma-informed mentor states, and information about innovative and evidence-based policies and practices for responding to adverse childhood experiences.

Referred to as ACEs, adverse childhood experiences describe experiences in one’s home or community which occur before the age of 18. ACEs include a range of events such as abuse and neglect, violence among household members, community violence, food insecurity and racism. Exposure to ACEs can cause prolonged stress impacting a child’s brain and nervous system development, and negatively impact a person's health and well-being across their lifetime. This learning collaborative will connect Delaware state agency leaders with national experts, and provide opportunities to learn strategies to prevent and mitigate exposure to ACEs for children, their families and communities.

“When children experience trauma, we know it has the potential to impact their lives in a range of ways. That’s why we have made it a commitment in Delaware to take a look at the root causes of trauma and how we as a state help families cope with traumatic experiences,” said Gov. John Carney. “The work of the Family Services Cabinet Council has aided our efforts and created a strong foundation for us to tackle this work. I thank the National Governors Association for recognizing our work and plans, and look forward to being part of this important collaborative on adverse childhood experiences.”

The governor’s commitment to trauma-informed practices, with the leadership of the Family Services Cabinet Council, provided a strong foundation for Delaware’s application to participate in the collaborative. In 2018, Carney signed Executive Order 24, which launched efforts to make Delaware a trauma-informed state. The Family Services Cabinet Council has led this movement, developing training tools, creating action plans and finding ways to enhance services for children and families exposed to trauma.

For the learning collaborative, Delaware’s application identified the following goals and objectives: Analyze and share robust Delaware ACEs data; develop a state-level dashboard for trauma-informed implementation and assessment across state agencies; implement a uniform initial training on ACEs, trauma and resilience for all state employees and offer additional training for those on the front line; and expand work across state agencies and build relationships among the public sector and private partners around addressing ACEs.

“The term ‘resiliency’ isn’t a buzzword; in Delaware, it is the foundation of our work to help children and families live positive, productive and fulfilling lives. The Family Services Cabinet Council is taking a focused approach to lift up Delaware families and promote resiliency. That starts with embracing trauma-informed practices within our agencies and in our day-to-day work with families. Our participation in this National Governors Association initiative will help enhance planning and foster key strategies,” said Josette Manning, secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. “We know that trauma can have lifelong impacts on a child, and it’s on all of us to nurture and support interventions to allow children to thrive. I look forward to this important opportunity for Delaware.”

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