Since 1884, Children & Families First has offered hope to people in need.
Each year, we serve thousands of children and families across Delaware….Young women
seeking support to have a healthy baby...Children in foster care awaiting a loving
permanent home… Teens in need of help to reconnect to their families…Parents looking
for better ways to communicate with their kids…Families with limited resources
taking care of an elderly parent…and more.
When children are troubled or in trouble, instead of asking the age-old question, “What’s wrong with you?” Children & Families First asks, “What happened to you?” They may not be able to answer what’s wrong, but children do know what happened to them. Often, what happened was an adverse childhood experience, like abuse or neglect, living in a home with substance abuse, or living with a parent who is mentally ill. These experiences are called ACEs, and researchers have identified ten.
ACE's - Adverse Childhood Experiences are events that create stress in children. One event or experience might not be so bad, but when children experience an overload of these "adverse" experiences, their bodies release hormones that create toxic stress. For more than a decade, researchers have understood that frequent or continual stress on young children is strongly associated with increases in the risks of lifelong health and social problems. Adolescents who experience toxic stress are more likely to engage in risky behavior — smoking, drug use, teen pregnancy, depression and suicide.
TOXIC STRESS can disrupt early brain development and architecture, compromise functioning of the nervous and immune systems, and thus, can lead to health problems including alcoholism, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
The Good News is that not all children experience Toxic Stress. Safe, Stable, and Nurturing Relationships act as a buffer against adverse childhood experiences. They are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and emotional well-being of children.
Even Better News is that even those children who suffered adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress can get well. Research shows that both the young and adult brain can be altered by the environment. Many of the long lasting anatomical physiological, biochemical and behavioral effects of toxic stress experienced in early life and adolescence may be reversible when children and adults experience safe, stable, and nurturing relationships.
Children & Families First helps children facing adversity on their journey to adulthood. We use proven methods to help families raise their children so they can flourish.
For More Information:
ACEs Study - Learn about the study of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
ACEs Document – Learn about ACEs and what CFF is doing to prevent and deal with the effects of ACEs on children.
ACEs Questionnaire – Most people have experienced one or more ACE. Take this questionnaire to see how you score.
How Brains are Built: The Core Study of Brain Development
How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime
Ted Talk/Nadine Burke Harrris