Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events experienced before age 18. They include parental divorce or separation; living with someone who had an alcohol or drug problem; neighborhood violence victim or witness; living with someone who was mentally ill, suicidal or severely depressed; domestic violence witness; parent served jail time; being treated or judged unfairly due to race/ethnicity; or death of a parent.
ACEs can disrupt brain development causing social, emotional, and cognitive problems throughout an individual’s life, which increase the likelihood of risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, difficulty functioning at school/work, and even early death.
Nearly two in five Oklahoma children (18.3 percent) have suffered Adverse Childhood Experiences in 2019-2020, as reported by America’s Health Rankings, above the national average of 14 percent and the 10th highest rate among the states. In 2017-2018, 23.1 percent of Oklahoma children were found to have Adverse Childhood Experiences.