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States Produce a Bumper Crop of ACEs bills in 2017—nearly 40 bills in 18 states


A scan done in March by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) through StateNet of bills introduced in 2017 that specifically include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the text produced a surprising volume of bills (close to 40) in a large number of states (18). A scan done a year ago produced less than a handful. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves both state legislators and their staffs.

The shear volume of bills in so many states represents a promising trend—a growing interest by state policymakers in ACEs science. Most of the bills are still pending in state legislatures. A Utah resolution to promote ACEs science in state policy was signed by the Governor and a Virginia resolution mentions ACEs in trauma-informed community networks was passed by the legislature. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill to include ACEs science in the Medicaid Family Home Visiting program.

The NCSL noted these trends from the search of bills (see attached summary) that specifically mention ACEs: 
—create task forces or study or review committees (whether for ACEs specifically or members/content included on a related topic, like foster care);
—appropriate funds for ACEs prevention;
—require or encourage providers to use the ACE questionnaire or screening tool;
—support the development of pilot projects or initiatives for ACE prevention;
—provide school resource officer (MA) or pre-K teacher (VT) with training related to ACEs

ACEs Connection Network staff (with leads from ACN members and other sources) follow and report on bills that include references to trauma-informed policy (with and without a mention of ACEs) and broader bills that would have the effect of mitigating ACEs without a specific reference to trauma-informed approaches or ACEs. A summary of these bills is now being updated and will be available soon, as well as statutes that relate directly to these topics.


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Elizabeth,  Thank you for this helpful summary of legistlation.  The CAREgivers Film project has been invited to provide an educational "Council Briefing"  for members of Philadelphia's City Council on April 21.  In collaboration with the Philadelphia ACE's TASK FORCE will be showing segments of our documentary film, "Portraits of Professional CAREgivers:  Their Passion. Their Pain."  and educating our city council about TIC and especially secondary trauma and staff resiliency.  We will cite this legislative movement and plan ourselves in the fall to introduce policy recommendations through our very supportive host council person, Helen Gym.  Our goal in the council briefing is for the Council to establish an annual "Professional CAREGIVERS and FIRST RESPONDERS DAY" that will recognize the contributions of the many kinds of professionals who care for traumatized and suffering clients and patients in our city.  Ultimately we want to challenge our city departments to develop effective organizational mechanisms that nurture and support staff in their rigourous caregiving roles, including child welfare workers, nurses, doctors, clinical therapists, firefighters, first responders, etc.   We've also been invited  by Councilwoman Gym to hold a complete screening of the film at City Hall this fall.

Vic Compher, MSS, LCSW

Director, Co-Producer, Trainer 

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