Colorado Essentials for Childhood is a partnership of stakeholders who are committed to a future where children and families thrive in the places where they live, learn, work and play. Our ultimate goal is to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect in our state.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adult Health in Colorado

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic or stressful experiences, such as abuse, which occur during childhood or adolescence. Existing research shows that these negative early life experiences have long-lasting effects on an individual’s well-being. However, the burden of these experiences among Colorado adults was previously unknown.

ACEs are common among adult Coloradans, with 61.7% being exposed to at least one type of ACE . More than one-third of adults have a history of multiple types of ACE. Nearly 15 percent of adults experienced four or more ACEs, and some adults have a history of all eight types (0.4%). Parental divorce/separation, emotional abuse, and having a substance-abusing household member were each cited by more than a quarter of adults (Figure 2). Physical abuse (18.9%), living with someone who had a mental illness (17.0%), and domestic violence (16.4%) were also common experiences. One in every ten adults were sexually abused before age 18, and the prevalence was three times higher among females. Six percent of Coloradans had a household member who spent time in prison.

See Health Watch for more information on this study.

Monday, March 14, 2016

STUDY: Health Care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood — United States, 2011–2012

What is already known about this topic?

Sociodemographic factors and environmental influences in early childhood have been demonstrated to have significant impact on development, mental health, and overall health throughout the lifespan.

What is added by this report?

This report provides recent national data documenting significant associations of early childhood mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders (MBDDs) with sociodemographic, health care, family, and community factors. There was substantial variation in state estimates of these factors and early childhood MBDDs. The factors most strongly associated with MBDDs were fair or poor parental mental health, difficulty getting by on the family’s income, child care problems (among parents of children aged 2–3 years), and lacking a medical home.

What are the implications for public health practice?

These data support the Institute of Medicine recommendation that resources directed toward improving health care and supporting families and communities are needed to promote healthy development among all young children. Collaborative, multidisciplinary strategies including public health and pediatric clinical partners might have the greatest impact given the broad types of factors associated with early childhood MBDDs and the large number of agencies working to support optimal child development.

See the study here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Help kick-off a month of awareness events and prevention activities throughout Colorado!

Get involved with raising awareness around April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, by utilizing the Prevention Toolkit created for community partners that includes posters and flyers around a cohesive theme of, 'Colorado Children, Our Most Precious Resource.'

Also included in the toolkit you can find sample letter to the editors, sample press releases, sample event planning guidelines and more!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Abuse, Poverty in Childhood Linked to Adult Health Problems

Childhood abuse and poverty may raise the risk of health problems in adulthood, a new study suggests.

"Childhood disadvantage has long-term health consequences -- much longer than most of us realize," said study author Kenneth Ferraro, a professor and interim head of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

"A novel aspect of this study is that childhood disadvantage was linked to the onset of new health problems decades later," he said in a university news release.

The researchers examined data from more than 1,700 adults who were surveyed in 1996 when they were between the ages of 25 and 74, and again in 2006 when they were aged 35 to 84.

"Health problems and quality-of-life issues were a concern during the first wave of the study," said Ferraro, director of Purdue's Center on Aging and the Life Course.

"However, when we revisited the study's adult participants 10 years later, childhood poverty and frequent abuse were related to the onset of new health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, even after we adjusted for risk factors including health lifestyle and socioeconomic status," he said.

The researchers only found an association, rather than a cause-and-effect link. Still, they said family composition during childhood -- such as if both parents were in the home -- appeared to play a role in health when the study participants were adults, but not to the same degree as poverty and physical or verbal abuse.

It's "possible we have underrepresented the relationship between childhood disadvantage and later life health problems because those most severely affected were not able to participate in a social survey," Ferraro said.

"But, now that we have identified some of the early origins of adult disease, we should focus on greater resources, even during midlife, to break the chain of risks," he said.

The study was published in the February issue of the journal American Sociological Review.

The Children's Defense Fund has more about child poverty