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HEARTS Initiative

Goal: The HEARTS initiative will prevent and address childhood trauma in the Capital Region and surrounding counties - Warren, Washington, Columbia, and Saratoga. The HEARTS initiative is an innovative model to replicate nationally, as well as internationally, to make children's lives healthier and happier

HEARTS are healthy environments and relationships that support people who have experienced trauma. HEARTS also prevent the trauma and consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The following agencies have each developed programs to mitigate the effects of ACEs and have joined the HEARTS Initiative coalition for a powerful ACE Response impact in the community:



-- Community Hospice
-- Ctr. for Disability Services
-- Homeless & Travelers Aid
-- LaSalle School
-- Mental Health Assn. of NYS
-- Northeast Parent & Child
-- Parsons Child & Family
-- Prevent Child Abuse NY
-- Senior Hope
-- St. Anne's Institute
-- St. Catherine's
-- Trinity Alliance
-- Troy Housing Authority
-- University at Albany
-- WAIT House

With seed funding from the Charles R. Wood Foundation in October 2011, St. Anne Institute became the lead agency of this partnership that includes all of these agencies, with the support, technical assistance, and in-kind services of Prevent Child Abuse New York and the UAlbany School of Social Welfare. The HEARTS Initiative is extending current programs and reaching out to include other community organizations. The HEARTS initiative works together to improve practices and outcomes in human service delivery as well as in families and communities.

The Restorative Integral Support (RIS) is a flexible model that facilitates the integration of a variety of programs carrying out prevention and intervention activities within the context of intentionally developed HEARTS. The HEARTS Initiative aims to help prevent and address ACE consequences in the following ways:

  • Improve program and community responses to prevent ACE consequences
  • Support the development of healthy families
  • Empower youth
  • Reduce substance abuse, homelessness, and crime
  • Support "ACE-informed" delivery of mental health and other treatment services
  • Strengthen communities

The following action steps will lead to these powerful impacts:

  • Encourage healthcare, childcare, and educational professionals to ask about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
  • Support the creation of ACE-informed services that build HEARTS to foster healthy development across the lifespan.
  • Support workforce development to help service providers address ACEs and build HEARTS.
  • Offer presentations to raise awareness of ACEs and engage agency directors and community members in the development and evaluation of healthy environments and relationships that support (HEARTS).
  • Inform policymakers about the consequences of childhood trauma to support ACE-informed HEARTS programming.
  • Implement Service Outcomes Action Research (SOAR) to comprehensively evaluate the impact of programs that incorporate services and interventions within the context of HEARTS.
  • Highlight program impacts on the ACE response website to share information about preventing and overcoming childhood trauma.

ACE Response Handouts