Adverse Childhood Experiences

Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences (PDF) ACE Posters (PDF)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) can last a lifetime, but they don't have to. Early exposure to family violence, abusive treatment, neglect, alcohol and drug abuse, or separated/divorced parents can lead to health and social problems, risk-taking behaviors and a shortened lifespan. Safe, stable and nurturing relationships and communities can break the cycle of abuse and maltreatment.

What is the ACE Study?

The ACE Study is an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. Led by Co-principal Investigators Robert F. Anda, MD, MS, and Vincent J. Felitti, MD, the ACE Study is perhaps the largest scientific research study of its kind, analyzing the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma (ACEs), and health and behavioral outcomes later in life.

For more about the ACE Study, visit

What's an ACE?

Growing up experiencing any of the following conditions in the household prior to age 18:

  • Recurrent physical abuse
  • Recurrent emotional abuse
  • Contact sexual abuse
  • An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household
  • An incarcerated household member
  • Someone who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal
  • Mother is treated violently
  • One or no parents
  • Emotional or physical neglect 

image of kids and families


The ACE Score

The ACE Study used a simple scoring method to determine the extent of each study participant's exposure to childhood trauma. Exposure to one category (not incident) of ACE, qualifies as one point. When the points are added up, the ACE Score is achieved. An ACE Score of 0 (zero) would mean that the person reported no exposure to any of the categories of trauma listed as ACEs above. An ACE Score of 9 would mean that the person reported exposure to all of the categories of trauma listed above. The ACE Score is referred to throughout all of the peer-reviewed publications about the ACE Study findings. 

images of kids


Ask a Child Trauma Expert

Ask a Child Trauma Expert Ask a Child Trauma Expert
Childhood trauma can take many forms. It can be neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It can also be the loss of a parent or mental illness of a loved one. Childhood trauma can cause lasting psychological harm, but help is available. Experts in all areas of childhood trauma will be in the studio taking viewer phone calls Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 1-888-329-7088

A public service of Eight made possible by First Things First; Association of Supportive Child Care; Phoenix Children's Hospital; St. Luke's Health Initiative; Department of Economic Security Division of Children, Youth & Families; Southwest Human Development; and Child Crisis Center.


Forgiveness - Ask an Arizona Expert

This program in Eight's ongoing Ask An Arizona Expert community engagement initiative explores the value of forgiveness and the positive impact it can have on people's lives. The special discusses the role of forgiveness in the prevention and healing process.

Viewers called 1-888-329-7088 or instant messaged the ACE Consortium on Facebook between 5:30pm and 10pm and asked local experts specific questions for appropriate resources.

The panel of experts included in the show:

  • Eileen Borris, Ed.D. – a clinical & political psychologist in private practice who specializes in forgiveness issues
  • Douglas Kelley, Ph.D. – Associate Professor at Arizona State University who studies forgiveness-seeking communication
  • Amy Davis King, M.A., MFT – a pastoral counselor & marriage and family therapist with Arizona Interfaith Counseling

See the "Forgiveness Resources" box on the top right for further resources.

Need Help Now? phone

Report suspected abuse or neglect

Suicidal crisis or emotional distress hotline


fb Follow ACE Consortium on Facebook!

yt Visit the StrongKidsAZ YouTube channel!

Strengthening Families resource guide

Trainer Toolkit

ACEsToo High

ACE Connection

Strong communities raise strong kids is a consortium of these community partners:

In partnership with these Regional Child Abuse Prevention Councils:

Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth - Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse - Douglas for Stronger Families Council - Graham-Greenlee Regional Child Abuse Prevention Council - Grand Canyon Child Abuse Prevention Council - Greater Phoenix Child Abuse Prevention Council - Greater Tuba City Regional Child Abuse Prevention Council - Healthy Options for Parents Through Education (HOPE) - Kingman Child Abuse Prevention Council - Lake Havasu City Child Abuse Prevention Council - Pima County Child Abuse Prevention Council - Pinal Council for Child Abuse Prevention & Education - San Pedro Family Resource Council - Verde Valley & Sedona Child Abuse Prevention Council - Williams Child Abuse Prevention Council - Winslow Child Abuse Prevention Council - Yuma County Child Abuse Prevention Council

555 N. Central Ave. Suite 500, Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 496-1104

Arizona PBS is a member-supported service of Arizona State University