Research links Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including experiences of abuse, neglect, and trauma, to a range of negative outcomes related to children’s health, opportunities, and well-being. As the number of ACEs increase, the risk for these outcomes also increases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies a list of risk factors which may lead to ACEs, including social isolation, family disorganization, parenting stress, and poor parent-child relationships. The CDC also highlights protective factors which may reduce ACEs and the risk factors associated with them, such as supportive family environment and social networks, concrete support for basic needs, caring adults outside the family who can serve as role models or mentors, and communities that support parents.

For example, studies have shown that the development of strong parent-child bonds and the reduction of family conflict protect against children’s drug use later in life (drug use is a negative outcome associated with ACEs).

By focusing on protective factors encompassing the child’s interpersonal bonds, the family system, parent-to-parent support, parent peer social network, parent empowerment, and school/community affiliation, FAST® intentionally aims to build and strengthen defenses against ACEs.

Images courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Merrick, Ford, Ports & Guinn; Gilbert, Breiding, Merrick, Parks, Thompson, Dhingra & Ford; Fetti; Edwards, Anda, Dube, Dong, Chapman& Felitti Felitti, Anda, Williamson, Spitz, Edwards, Koss & Marks; McDonald and Doostgharin)