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Children's health and development

Working with Congress to address adverse childhood experiences

APA’s Advocacy Office, in conjunction with APA divisions, individual psychologists, and the APA Office on Children, Youth and Families, provided feedback on a bill that will advance research on adverse childhood experiences.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2021, April 28). Working with Congress to address adverse childhood experiences.

Based on studies from the National Institutes of Health that demonstrate that social isolation, job loss, school closures, and other stressors unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic may be amplifying some adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) is drafting a bill that authorizes $10 million annually over five years to support research and programmatic efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will build on previous research on the effects of ACEs.

After a request for input from King’s office, APA’s Advocacy Office worked with Div. 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) and Div. 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology), the APA Office on Children, Youth, and Families, the Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, and individual psychologists who focus on children/children, youth and family issues to develop a set of recommendations for King’s draft ACEs bill.

The recommendations submitted included: identifying other forms of measuring toxic stress; researching what events constitute an ACE; ensuring that adversities that are not currently included on the ACEs list (e.g., discrimination) are recognized in the bill; addressing how structural/systemic barriers can be an adversity and relate to toxic stress; and examining the effect of ACEs across generations.

For more information, contact Aaron Bishop.