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Think of ACE data as a kind of policy advocacy tool. Effective activists equip themselves with the latest research in their work advocating for policies and practices that promote resilience building and minimize ACEs and their consequences.
Data can come from any number of sources - from research institutes and universities to government agencies. One of the major sources of ACE data in the United States is the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BRFSS is one of the largest telephone health surveys in the world. The survey system was designed to gather information on indicators of health status, health-risk behaviors and chronic disease from adults across the country.
More recently, due to increased recognition of ACEs and their costly health outcomes, many states have added an ACE module to their BRFSS questionnaires. State health departments and organizations have utilized ACE data collected from their states' BRFSS questionnaires in local and state-level policy advocacy efforts with powerful results.
Examples of ACE Data in Action
Activists in communities throughout the United States have used ACE data from their own state BRFSS survey findings to bolster policy advocacy efforts. Such informed actions have influenced the proposal and passage of legislation set out to address the public health epidemic of ACEs.
Washington State was one of the first states to add ACE questions to the BRFSS questionnaire in 2009. In other states like Wisconsin, BRFSS ACE data served critical functions in statewide policymaking and prevention planning. Read how BRFSS ACE data were used in the states of Washington and Wisconsin in this article from the first issue of the Alliance for Children and Families Magazine.
To evaluate ACE-informed programming and support program development over time, agencies can implement an innovative data-informed practice process called Service Outcomes Action Research (SOAR). Two leading HEARTS (Healthy Environments and Relationships That Support) Initiative partners, LaSalle School and Saint Anne Institute, have implemented SOAR through an ongoing partnership with the University at Albany. Click here for a more detailed account of SOAR.
ACE Data Resources
Adverse Childhood Experiences Reported by Adults --- Five States - A report from the CDC on BRFSS ACE data collected from adults in five states.
Adverse Childhood Experiences: National and State-Level Prevalence - A consolidated research brief covering both national and state-level ACE prevalence. This research brief was released in 2014 by Child Trends and uses data from the 2011/12 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH).
Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health - Explore national, regional, and state-level data through this website to inform your own advocacy efforts. Learn how to navigate the site with this step-by-step video clip.
CDC Child Abuse and Neglect Data Sources - Here you will find a list of additional sources of ACE data on the CDC's website.
Changing Legislation to Unite Brain Science and Policy - A video recording of a presentation given by Clare Anderson, former Deputy Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, at the 2013 national Alliance for Children and Families conference. In the video, Anderson reveals how ACE data can be used to influence lasting policy change and reminds us to always "start with the data."