Adverse Childhood Experiences

A growing network of leaders is pioneering how we diminish the impact of adverse childhood experiences.

The more #ACES you have, the higher your risk for serious health conditions.

Thanks to decades of neuroscience research on brain development, adversity and toxic stress, we now understand how a child who is exposed to violence, or neglect, or homelessness at an early age may develop behavioral and physical health problems later in life. We can now use this rapidly evolving knowledge to create real-world solutions.” 

-Jane Lowe, Senior Adviser for Program Development

Urban ACEs Study


In 2012, the Institute for Safe Families, with support from RWJF and others formed the Philadelphia Adverse Childhood Experiences Task Force. This Task Force conducted a city-wide Urban ACE survey of over 1,700 residents to understand how prevalent the problem is in Philadelphia. The survey found that 37 percent of Philadelphia adults reported having four or more of these ACEs. 

Learn more about the survey

The First ACEs Summit


The National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences, co-sponsored by the Institute for Safe Families and RWJF, took place May 2013 in Philadelphia. The event brought together national and local leaders to learn what approaches are making a difference and how they can spread more widely to create a paradigm shift within health care, mental health, and child-serving systems.

Learn more about the summit

Building Resilience

Traumatic childhood events like abuse and neglect can create dangerous levels of stress and derail healthy brain development, resulting in long-term effects on learning, behavior and health. Leaders in research, policy and practice across the country are leading the way in preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mitigating their impact by building resilience.

Learn and hear about what's happening

Related Research

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Supporting Adults to Support Young Children

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The Nurse-Family Partnership gives young, low-income women who are first-time parents somewhere to turn.

Improving Access to Children's Mental Health Care

Improving Access to Children's Mental Health Care

This report is the second in a series of studies that report on strategies to sustain children’s mental health services and prevent the onset of problem behaviors.

Child First Develops an Evidence-Based Early Childhood Intervention

Child First Develops an Evidence-Based Early Childhood Intervention

Child First is a home-based early childhood intervention that works with the most vulnerable very young children and their families to reduce serious emotional disturbance, developmental and learning problems, and abuse and neglect.