Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

are traumatic or stressful events that occur prior to the age of 18. ACEs cause toxic stress, which can harm a child’s brain and result in problems with behavior, learning and even making friends.

After experiencing a traumatic event, a child may feel vulnerable or helpless. These feelings may cause them to adopt risky behaviors such as drinking, overeating and smoking in an attempt to manage their emotions. These risky behaviors can then lead to poor health outcomes, such as disease, disability and even early death.

ACEs in KY Infographic


is that there are steps we can take as individuals, professionals, and a community to mitigate the impact of ACEs. Research shows that protective factors, such as the presence of a stable and nurturing relationship with adults, parent/caregiver resilience, and community systems that provide support through trauma-informed practices, can all build resiliency among the children in our community and allow them to bounce back from adversity more quickly.

What We Know About ACEs
1.National Survey of Children’s Health 2019-2020