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What are Adverse Childhood Experiences and what do they mean to me?

Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACE's can affect your and your family’s health. ACEs affect all communities. In fact, two-thirds of us have had at least one ACE.


ACE's are events that occur during childhood that can cause high levels of stress in your body and your brain. That stress is considered “toxic,” and can have life-long health effects if not recognized and treated.


There are 10 ACEs that we talk about. You may be asked to review this list and let our health care team know how many of these you or your child have experienced. This is known as the ACE "score" it will help us do a better job of meeting your health care needs.

Physical abuse

Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse

Physical neglect

Emotional neglect

Having caregivers with mental health concerns

Having caregivers with problematic substance use

Having caregivers that are separated or divorced

Having a caregiver that has been incarcerated

Domestic violence at home

Having ACEs does not determine our futures


Our stories are more than a number. The important thing is to identify and understand our ACEs and toxic stress, and then work to find ways to heal. Research shows there are several things we can do to reduce the stress that we feel and prevent further health conditions from developing:

  • Having healthy and supportive relationships with a parent, family member, or mentor

  • Getting regular sleep

  • Eating healthy food

  • Spending time outside and in nature

  • Getting regular exercise

  • “Mindfulness” practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing

  • Talking to a mental health professional


Tri Counties Community Action Partnership (TCCAP) partnered with Glenn County Community Action Department (CAD) to complete a pilot project for the ACEs Aware Network of Care Planning Grant.  The goal was to increase ACEs screenings and the network of care to respond to individuals who have experienced ACEs.  TCCAP placed two Community Health Workers (CHWs) in medical provider offices that were conducting ACEs screenings.  Our CHWs received referrals through a warm hand off from providers for any individual that would benefit from additional supportive or specialty services.  During the four week pilot phase we served 22 individuals.

The pilot project is in alignment with TCCAP’s vision to develop innovative whole-person care systems in our community to improve overall wellness and develop navigation and resource referral supports to make finding help easier on our community members, especially during times of intense stress or trauma.  Our group of trained CHWs served clients, whom we refer to as “Community Members”.  We did this by empowering them to acquire services they needed to thrive and provide assistance navigating and providing linkage for these identified services. 


Impact Story #1

It Just Takes a Cheerleader

“Bob” was a male Community Member with Ace Score of 8.  This was one of the highest ACE scores we encountered.    Our Community Health Worker, Meghan Metzger, had a referral from the provider.  He was suffering from significant anxiety that was impacting his quality of life.  Bob was seeking treatment for the anxiety, but did not have insurance when he came in. After Megan’s intake with Bob and discussions around his overall wellness picture, they discussed some possible goals to help him improve his overall health outcomes. Through the understanding of ACES and relationship of toxic stress and anxiety to childhood trauma, both the provider and Community Health Worker were able to engage with the Community Member and empower him to achieve several positive milestones.  He did not have insurance when he came in, and they were able to get him connected with an interim plan.  He pursued a 2nd job temporarily and found a full-time job with benefits.  He began pursuing exercise for stress management as part of his daily routine and developed some other stress reduction techniques.  He and Megan really connected and they have had some follow-up calls to share progress and celebrate successes.

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