The PACEs Connection Milestones Tracker is a good starting point to assess your organization and particularly your community’s progress in integrating policies and practices based on PACEs science. Less an assessment tool and more of a checklist or roadmap, it identifies the general steps that any organization can use to determine if it’s on the right track, whether a school, police department, business, healthcare facility, or social services agency.
We chose the 14 milestones based on an extensive literature review of evidence-based self-assessments by organizations. These milestones are common to most, if not all, organizations across sectors. Some milestones are very simple. Others represent many changes an organization needs to implement. This tracker does not evaluate how well an organization is doing at each milestone, but if the organization completes all milestones, it’s likely that meaningful change is occurring.
Although we created the Milestones Tracker so that members of a community PACEs initiative could eyeball the overall progress of their participating organizations on an interactive map (we offer this as part of the tools and services of the PACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities), the following 14 milestones can be used by any organization. This includes volunteer, advocacy, neighborhood association, parent association, small business, health clinic, faith-based, recreation, arts, school, school board—any group of people that organize around a goal or mission and who want to measure their progress in integrating PACEs science into their work.
- PACEs science presentation to a volunteer or staff member of an organization—Somebody hears a presentation somewhere and is the catalyst to bring information about PACEs science to the organization.
- PACEs science presentation to ALL organization staff and/or members—All employees and/or members participate in a presentation about PACEs science.
- Leadership commits to integrating PACEs science—Your organization’s decision-maker(s) or the organization by consensus—whichever works best for your organization—announces to all staff members the intention to integrate practices and policies based on PACEs science, approves a committee to lead the effort and provides appropriate resources. Committee members join PACEs Connection.
- Organization members or staff complete ACE & PCE (positive childhood experiences) surveys—Each person anonymously completes an ACE survey (one that includes other questions, such as racism, bullying, involvement with foster care system, etc., that reflect the experiences of staff members) to determine their own ACEs and positive childhood experiences. (We recommend that racism is included because all people in the U.S. are affected in one way or another.) Ask staff members to complete an anonymous PACEs survey together (in person or live webinar) by using instant polling software such as PollEverywhere. The individual PACE scores are compiled in real time so that everyone can see the organization’s collective burden of ACEs and the collective strength of its PCEs instantly. Make sure to include the range of ACEs and PCEs (1-2, 3, 4+) to get a handle on how much the organization needs shoring up. Anyone who takes these surveys is provided the opportunity to talk with a peer support specialist, social worker, or someone designated inside or outside the organization by leadership. Employees should not provide their scores to the organization they work for. Depending on the size of the organization, this process can be done by department.
- Human resources department integrates healing-centered (trauma-informed) practices & policies based on PACEs science—These include such functions as membership, hiring, termination, leave, supervision, etc., as applicable. It’s very important to make sure that anyone hired, including new leadership, is well versed in PACEs science, its practices and policies.
- Your organization participates in a local PACEs initiative—Representatives of your organization attend local PACEs initiative meetings, participate in workgroups or have signed an MOU with the PACEs initiative. If no PACEs initiative exists, work with organizations from other sectors to create one.
- People served by your organization are educated about PACEs science—This includes patients, students, prisoners, customers, community members, parents, activists, advocates….whomever the organization serves. They have a right to know the most powerful determinant of their...and their children’s...health, safety and productivity.
- People that your organization serves receive ACE & PCE (positive childhood experiences) surveys—This means that clients/ students/ customers/ patients/ prisoners/advocates/, in other words anyone whom the organization serves, have completed ACE and PCE surveys for themselves. It does not necessarily mean that they have provided that information to the organization that gave it to them; it may be for their own knowledge. It depends on the organization. For example, it’s appropriate for a physician to know the ACE and PCE score of a patient; it’s not necessary for a school to know the ACE score of a student. However, it would be useful for a school to know the ACE burden and PCE foundation of its student body, and gather student ACE scores anonymously. Anyone who takes an ACE survey should be educated about PACEs science, and provided the opportunity to talk with a peer support specialist or social worker.
- Your organization implements trauma-informed procedures or practices based on PACEs science for people served by the organization—Your organization or association has applied a PACEs-science lens to all practices for clients, students, patients, prisoners, customers. In other words, these practices and policies are for anyone whom the organization serves, and are developed with the input of the people it serves.
- Your organization evaluates policies and practices—On an ongoing basis, your organization evaluates changes it has implemented, includes staff members and people it serves in that evaluation, and makes improvements.
- The physical environment of your organization creates safe, quiet and healing places—Your organization or association finds good examples of the healing-centered/trauma-informed physical environments of other organizations, and makes changes in the physical environment. This includes waiting areas, work areas, recreation areas, with considerations that include but aren’t limited to lighting, fresh air, safety, noise, and privacy.
- Diversity—Your organization evaluates the diversity of the staff AND develops a plan to address its findings AND put a system in place for continuous evaluation.
- Equity—Your organization evaluates its practices, structures, and policies for areas of inequity; AND takes steps to ensure that specific solutions and remedies are employed; AND puts a system in place for continuous evaluation.
- Inclusion—Your organization evaluates its practices, structures, and policies to ensure and emphasize that all are welcomed, respected, supported, and valued; AND takes steps to ensure that specific solutions and remedies are employed; AND puts a system in place for continuous evaluation.
The next step is to use a self-assessment tool to take a deep dive into every milestone (except the first, because that’s fairly serendipitous) so that you can begin to develop a plan to make changes as your organization progresses down the path of integrating healing policies and practices based on PACEs science. For self-assessment tools for organizations in specific sectors—including child-abuse prevention agencies, child/youth/adult/family serving organizations, domestic violence services, healthcare agencies—check out the Self-Assessment Tools in PACEs Connection’s Resource Center.
We will be adding tools as we hear about them. If you have good examples, contact Rafael Maravilla (rmaravilla@pacesconnection) so he can add them to the Resource Center. Please note that these tools might not include our recommendations to have the staff anonymously assess their own ACEs and PCEs, or educate the people they serve about them. We think every organization should do so.