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ACEs-, Trauma-Informed, and Resilience-Building Parenting Programs

An exploratory list of parent education efforts for ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building principles and approaches. Please leave your comments and additions below!


Cherokee Point Trauma-Informed School Parent Leaders 




Echo Parenting & Education

-Provides trauma-informed non-violent parent classes for all parents in Los Angeles

-Parent classes include court appointed and voluntary participants from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds (in English and Spanish)

-Also has trauma-informed schools program


Essential Parenting

-Free online training, mindful discipline book, coaching, and practices


Susan Delucchi: Taming the Dragons: Birth to 12 Years: Helping Children Cope With Traumatic Stress

-A manual for parents, foster parents, and kinship caregivers, developed out of a crisis nursery in WA state


Positive Discipline

-books, parent and educator training, articles, apps

-Article: No more logical consequences (at least hardly ever) focus on solutions

-Quote: "Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children DO better, we first have to make them FEEL worse?"


The Family Center

-Screening parent training participants for ACEs; training trainers in ACEs


The Sanctuary Model

S.E.L.F.: A Trauma-Informed Psychoeducational Group Curriculum


Shelby County ACEs Task Force

-Universal Parenting Places


Strengthening Families

-Webinar- ACEs and Resiliency- the case for integrating ACEs and Strengthening Families Approaches


Committee on the Shelterless (COTS)

-ACEs and trauma-informed parent education.


Beyond Consequences Institute, Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

-Training, daily reflection emails, internet support group, yahoo group, phone coaching 


Lemonade for Life 

-Home visiting with parent education


NEAR at Home

-Home visiting with parent education


Dr. Dan Siegel

-Training, books, videos


Lead for Tomorrow and Family Hui Mainland

-Currently incorporating ACEs into parent ed program


National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents (2010)


Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

-Parent/caregiver and child education on trauma and effects on behavior


Calming Ourselves in Stressful Moments

-Written in a simple, understandable style to appeal to a general audience, it provides clear connections between neuroscience (the "why") and calming activities (the "how").


Celebrating Families!

Overview of Celebrating Families!β„’

How ACEs and Trauma are incorporated into Celebrating Families!β„’


Zero to Three

The Past is Present: The impact of your childhood experiences on how you parent today


Wonder Weeks

-Book and amazing app that very accurately predicts "stormy" and "sunny" periods of development in the first year and a half, based on estimated due date

-Would be an incredible addition to an ACEs, TI, and resilience-building parent ed program

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children DO better first we have to make them FEEL worse? - See more at: http://www.positivediscipline....sthash.iDfRlBEC.dpuf


Triple P Parenting

-No reported incorporation of ACEs and trauma-informed approaches into existing curriculum


Incredible Years

-No reported incorporation of ACEs and trauma-informed approaches into existing curriculum


Parent Child Interaction Therapy

-Education component?

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Hi, Joan: Alicia said that you were looking for someone who's integrated ACEs into parenting courses for divorced/divorcing parents. 

His name is Bill Haigwood, and he's a member of Here's his contact info: 

Bill Haigwood, program coordinator

Parent Support Services

Child Parent Institute

Santa Rosa, CA

Office: 707.585.6108 ext 1118   

His email address is billh at calparents dot org 


Hello ACES in Parenting Group!


May I ask for your input, please?  I'm the Director of the Texas Cooperative Parenting Course for Divorce in Austin, Texas. It is a mandatory course for many parents in Texas who have minor children, and they must take our course (or a similar one) and present a certificate of completion to the court before the judge will grant their divorce.  The goal is to equip parents with problem-solving skills to end conflict, positively co-parent, and help their children adjust to the divorce. The course is limited to the set of mandatory topics that are required by state law.  


It's a step in the right direction, but the the problem is the mandatory topics don't go far enough. As you know, divorce is one of the 10 ACEs, and where one ACE exists, statistically there are probably more. I'm finding this to be true and very common among our participants because rarely is the divorce their only dilemma; it's almost always the case that other ACEs for the children are surrounding the divorce such as varying degrees of parental addiction, relational violence, yelling, and general household chaos and dysfunction.


My answer is to add a basic course for the parents about ACEs. But the question is who would take it?

Pretty much the only reason the parents are in the divorce course is because it is mandatory and they can't get divorced without it.  


If I create an ACEs course, it would have to be voluntary, i.e., the parents would have to pay for it out of their own pockets, or the churches, non-profits, hospitals, social service organizations, etc. would have to buy it for their audiences.


[Note: For various reasons too long to mention here, we cannot incorporate the ACE information into our existing course. Instead, we will need to create an entirely new stand-alone course, which we could then layer on top of it.]  I'm assuming MANY parenting classes, like ours, could benefit from adding the overlay of ACE information to their existing curriculum, but do you think that is a correct assumption and if such a course were available in a format they liked, then they would buy it and implement it? 


I may be able to secure the funding IF I can demonstrate that a market exists that CAN and WILL pay for our ACE course. Every parent would be welcome, but I would especially like to target new parents, young parents, and parents-to-be who themselves grew up with ACEs ---and now they are raising their own children -- and that's a da*n hard thing to do when you're still healing your OWN childhood and no one understands that, and you don't have any blueprint in your history of what a functional household even looks like.


[Note: For those of you who don' t know me, my own ACE score is very high, and I've either seen or made myself almost parenting mistake in the book. I'm also a CASA volunteer for abused and neglected children, and I am determined to alert new parents that there are ways to heal themselves (though I've found healing to be a life-long process), and there are ways to actively protect their own children.]


So I'm looking to pilot a compassionate course such as: 


Option 1:

"Want to NOT Parent Like Your Parents Did? 5 Secrets to Break the Cycle of Bad Parenting and Feel Relief in Yourself and Your Kids"

Option 2:

"Parents: Was Your Childhood Difficult? Do You Wonder What is Wrong With Me? Are You Triggered By Your Child's Behaviors, Even Though You Love Your Child?" You are NOT Alone! You Can Make Things Better For Yourself and Your Child"

Option 3:

"Worried About Protecting Your Kids? Learn the 5 Steps to Keep Them Safe and the Big Mistake You Must Avoid"


--with Joan Norton: An Attorney, CASA Volunteer, and ACE Survivor Tells You How to Transform Yourself and Your Children From Torn-Up Inside to Feeling Calmer, Clearer, and More Connected AND the Enormous Cost of Failing to Act NOW While Your Kids are Still Under Your Roof


I sort of dislike that the title choices are so "salesy" BUT, I'm realizing that in order to get the ACE message out there, I'm going to have to sell it.


Right now, most parents are taking the divorce parenting course ONLY because they have to. For parents to pay to take an ACE Awareness/ SAFE Parenting Course (or whatever it's ultimately called), I'm going to have to SELL the idea, and offer the parents a solution to their most prevalent pain point, which might be fear of parenting (for the new parents) or unlivable chaos in the home (for other parents), etc.


The general topics I would like to teach in the course are:


ACE Awareness: Safe Parenting Course for ACE Survivors


1. You are Worthy of Love!

No matter what has ever happened to you, and even if no one ever told you, I am telling you now: You are Strong, Brave, Worthy, and Important! We're not here to tear you down - you've had enough of that. We are here to build you up!!

2.  Making the Connections Between Our Childhoods and Our Parenting  

Introduction to the famous ACE Study - Impact of Household Dysfunction on the Brain -Your ACE Score, Your Child's ACE Score & Moving Forward from Today

3. What Do You Want for Your Children?

Path A leads to Non-attachment, Disregulation, Negative Coping Skills, and Disease; Path B Leads to Connection, Healthy Relationships, and High-Functioning Adults with Unlimited Futures

4. Opening to Possibilities

You Deserve to Ask for Help. How to Get Help From a Trauma-Informed Professional and Ways You Can Self-Care/ Self-Heal, But Be Careful with This 

5. Creating Physical, Mental and Emotional Safety for Yourself and Your Children

Ideas for *felt* safety; who is watching the children? Cautions for screening childcare, babysitters, and leaving children with boyfriends and girlfriends; Why Neglect can be even worse than abuse 

6. Creating Healthy and Reasonable Boundaries for Yourself, and Teaching Them to Your Children

The power of NO; teaching children to have a voice

7. Parent Tool-Kit

Simple Daily Do's for Creating Connection (Becky Bailey I Love You Rituals, etc.) & Nurturing Children Through Play, Art, Coloring, and Rhymes

8. Preventing Big T's and Managing Little T's; the Cumulative Effect of "Micro-Traumas"

Insights based on research by Peter Levine and Gavin Becker, George Pratt

9. Handling the Most Common Parenting Dilemma Using Empathy and a Whole Brain Perspective

Practical alternatives to spanking and yelling

10. Creating My Beautiful, Loving, Functional Household - An Oasis of Calm for Me and My Children

Essential elements, and "nice-to-haves"

10. Electives:

A. Relational Violence

B. Incarcerated Family Member

C. When Cooperative Parenting Isn't Possible: Parallel Parenting and Effective Single Parenting

D. Impact of Addiction and Mental Illness in the Household


Thanks for reading this far!


My questions:


1. What markets (if any) do you see for my course idea? (Marketing directly to parents? Marketing to agencies/churches/non-profits? Both? Which one first?)


2. What additional topics would you add?


2. How would you like to see the course delivered? (In-person only? Online with a moderated Facebook discussion group? 7-part live webinar series? Text message, email, and/or phone support from an assigned coach?)


3. Would you be interested in participating in the course pilot?


All comments and input welcome!!


Thank you, wise colleagues.


Joan Norton, JD

Austin, Texas 

















Last edited by Joan Norton



Thank you so much for adding your program info!


Can you please provide further details on if/how you may be incorporating or planning to incorporate ACEs and trauma into the curriculum? i.e. screening parents, educating parents/children/trainers in ACEs, trauma-informed, and resilience-building principles and approaches, etc.


Looking forward to learning more and keeping in touch.

Another program addressing reducing ACEs, particularly related to addiction is Celebrating Families!β„’ - a  family-centered, skill-building program serving children ages birth through 17, their parents, and caregivers.  This evidence-based program, available from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA),emphasizes healthy living skills including addiction prevention/recovery; attachment; the development of a sense of hope and expanded life view; reduction of stress/anxiety; and safety.



Celebrating Families!β„’ (CF!)


Celebrating Families!β„’ (CF! ) is a multi-family, strength-based, skill-building program serving children ages birth through 17, their parents, and caregivers.  This evidence-based program, available from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA),emphasizes healthy living skills including addiction prevention/recovery; attachment; the development of a sense of hope and expanded life view; reduction of stress/anxiety; and safety. Celebrating Families!β„’ is listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices. It has been shown by outside evaluators with families dealing with addiction and child abuse/neglect to strengthen recovery, improve family re-unification and increase healthy living skills for families impacted by substance abuse disorders.  It has also been shown to be effective as a primary prevention program in school-based settings.


Celebrating Families!β„’ has been replicated in over 80 settings in the US and Canada, including schools, community-based organizations, Family Treatment (Dependency Drug) Courts, child welfare organizations, and treatment facilities.  The program is available in English (Celebrating Families!&trade,  Spanish (Β‘Celebrando Families!) and has been enhanced with Native teachings for Native American communities (Wellbriety/Celebrating Families!β„’Program) by White Bison, Inc..


Program Description


Celebrating Families!β„’ gives addicted parents needed skills to stay sober, to begin to heal, and to build healthy, non-violent relationships with their children; decreases risks of child abuse/neglect and family violence; and decreases risks of children repeating the family cycles of addiction and abuse. Long-term program outcomes are to

1.  Increase long-term mental, physical, and spiritual health of youth and families

2.  Increase parental rates of recovery

3.  Decrease rates of future addiction of children

4.  Successfully reunify families, when appropriate.


Celebrating Families!β„’ (CF! ) consists of 16 sessions. Each session begins with a healthy meal eaten in family groups; followed by age-appropriate, skill building groups; and ends with a structured, related Family Activity. The curriculum includes information on brain chemistry, addiction, life skills, resilience and asset development. It directly addresses issues of addiction in every session,  anchors families in recovery, and helps children better understand chemical dependency.  Parents’ and age-appropriate children’s sessions include skills training on nutrition; communication; chemical dependency and brain chemistry; facts about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; information on how chemical dependency affects families; appropriate expression of feelings, including anger management; problem solving and decision making; family/domestic violence (defining of healthy relationships); refusal skills; goal setting; affirmations; and learning disabilities and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD); and limit and boundary setting.



Studies available at


Evaluation outcomes from multiple sites show significant positive results, with very large effect sizes in parenting skills and family dynamics. Sites have found the curriculum effective with diverse cultural, racial and socio-economic groups. Independent evaluators have documented that the curriculum:

  • Doubles the rate of reunification, while decreasing time to reunification for families in Dependency Drug Court, also referred to as Family Treatment Courts.
  • Significantly increases positive growth for youth in knowledge and use of resources, coping skills, ability to stay out of trouble.
  • Significantly increases family cohesion, communication, strengths, resilience and organization with medium effect sizes from .15 to .70*
  • Significantly impacts positive parent involvement, supervision, efficacy, and positive parenting style with effect sizes from .18 -.60.*
  • Significantly impacting Protective Factors, reported by Group Leaders, including:
    • 80% increase in number of meals eaten as a family
    • 80% increase in participants' ability to connect with safe people
    • 70% increase in participants' ability to identify and appropriately express feelings
    • 80% increase in participants' service to others.
  • Effective with diverse populations, especially Hispanic families β€œindicating that CF! may be effective among different ethnic groups and a valuable resource for working in ethnically diverse communities.”  (Coleman, 2006). 

*β€œThese are significant positive results with large effect sizes.   To put these effect sizes into perspective, the best social skills training prevention programs is about .30.” (LutraGroup 2007)


For more information about Celebrating Families!TM visit:


National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)

10920 Connecticut Ave, Suite 100
Kensington, MD 20895





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