Sandy Springs, GA — Representatives Lucy McBath (GA-06 ) and Chris Stewart (UT-02) have introduced the Improving Data Collection for Adverse Childhood Experiences Act, a bill to support and expand research on the effects of adverse childhood experiences. Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACEs, are potentially traumatic events suffered during childhood that are already known to have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life and health.
“While we take important steps to prevent childhood trauma and protect our children, we must also understand the impact of these experiences across backgrounds,” said McBath. “The public health implication of childhood trauma is heartbreaking, and we must take action as lawmakers to improve our wealth of research with a diverse group. I thank my colleague for his support on this measure—together, we can build on this vital research, improve our understanding of the impact these adverse experiences have, and take steps to protect the lives and future health of all our children.”
“Tragically, too many children across the country suffer traumatic events that have long-lasting effects,” said Rep. Stewart. “These kids deserve the best resources possible, and this bipartisan legislation is an important step toward making that a reality. It’s time that we improve research and data collection for this all-important issue, for children of all backgrounds, so that we can better protect future generations.”
Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect have been shown to lead to heath issues in adulthood, including instances of cancer and asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that ACEs are tied to more than 21 million cases of depression and almost 2 million cases of heart disease, and taking steps to understand the impacts of ACEs may play a role in preventing chronic disease.
The Improving Data Collection for Adverse Childhood Experiences Act amends the Public Health Service Act and provides guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It would improve the research and data collected under the Adverse Childhood Experiences Act, enabling the CDC to build on the original study while addressing equity concerns by including a diverse, nationally representative sample. Under McBath and Stewart’s bill, research would examine the relationship between ACEs and negative health outcomes, the intensity and frequency of ACEs, and the relative strength of particular risk and protective factors.
"This important legislation will build upon previous understanding of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in innovative and equitable ways. Given the connection between ACEs and many of the top causes of death, including the overdose and suicide epidemic, it is critical that we invest in research to prevent ACEs in all communities." – John Auerbach (CEO, Trust for America’s Health)
“In Georgia, more than half of all adults reported experiencing at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), and nearly 1 in 5 adults reported experiencing four or more ACEs. That’s why GEEARS is proud to support this bipartisan bill which will fund additional research into ACEs, including much-needed attention to the community factors that affect children’s development. This bill also calls for the study of ACEs prevention and mitigation strategies that contribute to children’s well-being and long-term success.” – Mindy Binderman (Executive Director, GEEARS)