ADHS Presents Action Plan to Address Negative Childhood Experiences - State of Reform

ADHS Presents Action Plan to Address Negative Childhood Experiences – State of Reform

At the Arizona House Ad Hoc Committee on Adolescent Mental Health meeting last week, representatives from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) presented data on negative childhood experiences. (ACE) and Positive Childhood Experiences (PCE) in the state, as well as ADHS action. plan to reduce children’s exposure to ACEs and mitigate the adverse effects associated with them.

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ACEs are specific types of traumatic events that occur during childhood and adolescence (0-17 years). One of the reps noted how research shows a “powerful and persistent” correlation between ACEs and poor health outcomes later in life.

Types of ACE included in the ADHS analysis include parental divorce or separation, household poverty, household incarceration, household mental illness, alcohol/drug abuse within household, domestic violence, neighborhood violence, death of a relative and racial/ethnic discrimination.

The rep noted that, based on 2019-20 data, the 3 most prevalent ACEs in Arizona are parental divorce or separation, household poverty, and household incarceration or household mental illness.

Divorce or parental separation accounted for 27% of ACEs in Arizona, household poverty accounted for 15%, and household incarceration and mental illness both accounted for 11%. With physical, sexual and emotional abuse included in the assortment of ACEs, emotional abuse accounted for 36%, physical abuse 27% and sexual abuse 14%.

Arizona had a higher prevalence of ACE in 10 of 12 ACE types compared to the nation as a whole.

The representative also commented on the prevalence of PCE in Arizona compared to the nation as a whole. They emphasized the importance of PCEs in combating the harmful effects of CEAs on the children of the state.

PCEs described by ADHS included family resilience, extracurricular activities, sharing ideas with a caregiver, living in a safe and supportive neighborhood, and volunteering in the community, school, or church. For each type of PCE, the prevalence was higher nationwide than in Arizona itself.

“Positive childhood experiences protect against ACEs by promoting child resilience, [and] those who have been exposed to 4 or more ACEs have better health outcomes,” the rep said. “Supportive relationships and environments can also lead to positive adult function and better physical and mental health outcomes, regardless of socioeconomic status and race.”

Another ADHS presenter said Arizona currently ranks 44th out of 51 in the percentage of children who experience 2 or more ACEs.

The ADHS action plan contains 3 general components.

The first component involves the department improving the monitoring and visualization of data on ACEs and PCEs. The presenter said ADHS has identified all sources of data related to the 49 ACEs and PCEs identified in Arizona, met with interagency experts to determine the role of public health in this area, and numerically scored all ACEs. and PCE to determine where to focus surveillance. and data.

They noted that ADHS is developing a comprehensive and interactive ACE/PCE data dashboard for the public, as well as a website providing resources and promoting awareness among the general public.

The second component of the ADHS action plan is to increase provider awareness of ACEs and ECPs by creating provider-based videos on ACE trauma-informed approaches to care. ADHS also intends to create a website for providers to focus on awareness and prevalence of ACEs in Arizona and evidence-based recommendations for practice.

The third component of the ADHS action plan is to support a transformation of the public health system so that it is more informed about injuries. The presenter said ADHS has researched nationally proven trauma-informed approaches for major agencies and is currently completing a self-assessment of ADHS policies, practices and programs to inform this plan. of transformation.

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