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South Carolina’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative

Empowering communities to prevent childhood adversity

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that occur in a child’s life prior to the age of 18. This adversity can harm a child’s brain and its development, which can result in long-term negative health and social outcomes.

ACEs include emotional, physical and sexual abuse; domestic violence; substance use and mental illness of someone in the household; being separated from parents, including incarceration and divorce; food insecurity; and homelessness.

Through the empowerment of communities, the South Carolina ACE Initiative helps children and families overcome the effects of traumatic experiences, prevent poor health outcomes and promote well-being later in life. Children’s Trust is training to increase awareness of ACEs and their impact, collecting and disseminating data, building a prevention planning framework, and promoting sound legislative policy to address ACEs in our communities.

More about the Original ACE Study

Know your ACE score

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ACEs are common and preventable

Preventing ACEs improves health and well-being

While ACEs may be common, the good news is that they are preventable. We work to address them by applying research to raise awareness in local communities and at the state level of the significant behavioral, emotional and physical outcomes of childhood trauma.

The South Carolina ACE data provides understanding on the frequency, links to health and social outcomes, risk factors, mental health and quality of life. Use the ACE data to start a conversation in your community about preventing ACEs.

S.C. ACE data information sheet (PDF)


Know. Explore our research

Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), Children’s Trust and DHEC collect ACE data for South Carolina using the 11-item ACE survey. The BRFSS is a national phone-based survey, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collect data on behavioral risks among adults that are associated with morbidity and mortality. Children’s Trust will share the results as they become available.

View our Resources

Learn. Training opportunities build understanding

ACE Interface Master Trainers are available to help you and your community understand the importance of preventing ACEs.

Schedule an ACE Interface Training

Learn the impact of ACEs on early childhood brain development, health and well-being, the original ACE study and South Carolina ACE data, as well as strategies to empower communities to prevent ACEs.

Screen ACE documentaries

"Paper Tigers" and "Resilience" explore ACEs and efforts to apply the science and evidence-based practices to empower communities to improve health and well-being.

Have a community conversation

Through a guided conversation, Children’s Trust staff can help facilitate community perspectives and knowledge to build a foundation for collective action.

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Plan. The South Carolina Prevention Framework

Developed specifically by the nation’s leading child abuse prevention expert, with input from South Carolina stakeholders and families, the South Carolina Prevention Framework offers a blueprint for building health, well-being and resiliency along with strategies for taking community-based actions.

Our prevention approach covers the principles of understanding, support, resilience, inclusion, connection and growth. It can be used by individuals, organizations, communities and state leaders to develop action plans to address the impact of childhood trauma and promote child well-being.

Father playing with daughters in the backyard.

Advocate. Use your voice

Use your voice to share the importance of ACE- informed policies

ACEs are not destiny. Strong policies can support the success of our communities, families and children, and they can help overcome the negative adult health outcomes of ACEs.

Advocate for S.C. children

African American child with book

For More Information

Aditi Srivastav Bussells, MPH
Research and Community Impact Manager