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State PACEs Action

Snapshot of U.S. State Laws and Resolutions


Since the opening in January of many sessions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories, legislatures have addressed a myriad of issues from budgets, job growth, health care, immigration, the opioid epidemic, police-community relations, education and others (featured in the State Legislatures Magazine).

Many of these proposals will impact how well communities will prosper and thrive, fewer will impact childhood adversity directly, and an even smaller number will specifically mention ACEs and encourage trauma-informed policies in one or more sectors such as education, criminal justice, or healthcare.

We invite you to scan the following list of laws and approved resolutions and let us know what is missing. While this list includes only bills that were approved by the legislature and signed by a governor (the exception being that some resolutions don’t require the governor’s signature), please let us know of any bills under consideration now and help us track them by posting comments to this blog post. A summary of proposals considered but not passed in 2017 is now being compiled. 

State ACEs Resolutions and Laws

Resolutions approved in California, Utah, and Wisconsin

California ACR No. 155

Approved August 18, 2014

“This measure would urge the Governor to identify evidence-based solutions to reduce children’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences, address the impacts of those experiences, and invest in preventive health care and mental health and wellness interventions.”

Utah H.C.R. 10

Signed by the Governor March 22, 2017

A concurrent resolution to encourage state policy and programs to incorporate ACEs science to address “severe emotional trauma and other adverse childhood experiences” in children and adults and implement evidence-based interventions to increase resiliency.

Wisconsin Senate Joint Resolution 59

Report enrolled 1/17/2014

“Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That policy decisions enacted by the Wisconsin state legislature will acknowledge and take into account the principles of early childhood brain development and will, whenever possible, consider the concepts of toxic stress, early adversity, and buffering relationships, and note the role of early intervention and investment in early childhood years as important strategies to achieve a lasting foundation for a more prosperous and sustainable state through investing in human capital.”

 Education Laws passed in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Oregon

 Illinois SB 565, Public Act 99-0927

Signed by Governor on January 20, 2017

Legislation to require social and emotional screenings for children as part of the their school entry examinations.

Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools No. 4376

Signed by the Governor August 13, 2014

These provisions establish a statewide “safe and supportive schools framework” to assist schools to create safe and supportive learning environments “that improve educational outcomes for students.”

Update on implementation of the law:

Missouri Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative
Missouri statute (2 sections)
Section 161.1050.1 - Initiative established, department duties--definitions
Section 161.1055.1 - Pilot program established, selection of schools--fund created--definitions.
Bills as introduced (House bill Nos. 2565 & 2564)
Effective July 1, 2017

In 2016, Missouri enacted the “Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative” that requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in consultation with the Department of Mental Health and Department of Social Services, to provide information on the trauma-informed approach to all school districts, to offer training on the trauma-informed approach to all school districts, and create a website for schools and parents with information on the trauma-informed approach and a guide for schools to become trauma-informed.

The law’s definition of trauma-informed approach says it “involved understanding and responding to the symptoms of chronic interpersonal trauma and traumatic stress across the lifespan.” Other descriptors reflect the SAMHSA definition of trauma-informed.

The law also calls for a specific pilot program for five schools to receive intensive training in the trauma-informed approach. The legislature allocated $200,000 for implementation of the pilot but the Governor withheld the funds. The other directives to the DESE will be implemented using existing staff and volunteer resources. The website is under construction now but will be populated by the July deadline.

Oregon law to address “chronic absences of students” in the state’s public schools

H.B. 4002 (Chapter 68)

Signed by Governor on March 29, 2016

The law requires two state education agencies to develop a statewide plan to address the problem and provides funding for “trauma-informed” approaches in schools.

Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of ACEs in Washington State

Wash. Rev. Code § 70.305.005 et.seq.: (Finding- of Adverse Childhood Experiences
Purpose/Definitions/Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Washington State HB 1965

Enacted June 15, 2011

Click here to view legislative history.

The law established a statutory definition of adverse childhood experiences that is consistent with the ACE study and codified the state’s commitment to addressing ACEs in state policy. It also sunsetted two organizations devoted to children and families—Washington State Family Policy Council and the Council for Children and Families—and provided a framework for a private-public initiative to address ACEs.

Trauma-Informed Training in Arizona, Minnesota, and Texas

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-471: D. The department, in coordination with the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, shall provide child welfare investigators with training. The training shall be, at a minimum, in the following areas:

7. Impact and intervention practices related to adverse childhood experiences, culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery, domestic violence, family engagement, communication with special populations and trauma informed responses.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-802: D. All child safety workers shall be trained and demonstrate competency in: 3. Impact and intervention practices related to adverse childhood experiences, culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery, domestic violence, family engagement, communication with special populations and trauma informed responses.

Minn. Stat. § 245.4889. Children’s Mental Health Grants

(b) The following services are eligible for grants under this section:
(12) training for parents, collaborative partners, and mental health providers on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and trauma and development of an interactive Web site to share information and strategies to promote resilience and prevent trauma;

Texas S.B. 1356, Juvenile Justice trauma-informed training


Signed by Governor 6/14/2013
Effective Sept. 1, 2013

Requires the juvenile justice department to provide trauma-informed care training for probation officers, juvenile supervision officers, and court-supervised community-based program personnel. The training “must provide knowledge, in line with best practices, of how to interact with juveniles who have experienced traumatic events.”

 Texas H.B. 2789 ( 1160053)
Trauma-Informed Training for Employees
Passed 9/1/2015, 84th Legislature (2015-2016)

Relating to trauma-informed care training for certain employees of state supported living centers and intermediate care facilities.
Law (Chapter 161 Human Resources Code) requires the Department of Aging and Disability Services to develop or adopt trauma-informed care training for employees who work directly with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities in living centers and intermediate care facilities.

ACEs in Healthcare in Oregon and Vermont

Or. Rev. Stat. § 414.629: (2) A community health improvement plan must be based on research, including research into adverse childhood experiences, and must identify funding sources and additional funding necessary to address the health needs of children and adolescents in the community and to meet the goals of the plan. The plan must also:

(a) Evaluate the adequacy of the existing school-based health resources including school-based health centers and school nurses to meet the specific pediatric and adolescent health care needs in the community;
(b) Make recommendations to improve the school-based health center and school nurse system, including the addition or improvement of electronic medical records and billing systems;

(c) Take into consideration whether integration of school-based health centers with the larger health system or system of community clinics would further advance the goals of the plan;

(d) Improve the integration of all services provided to meet the needs of children, adolescents and families;

(e) Focus on primary care, behavioral health and oral health; and

(f) Address promotion of health and prevention and early intervention in the treatment of children and adolescents.

Chronology of ACEs-related legislation in Vermont 2014-15

In 2014, the Vermont legislature passed a bill to require the Blueprint for Health (a state-led health care program that includes practices providing healthcare to the majority of Vermonters) to do a study to address “whether, how, and to what extent” ACE-informed medical practice should be incorporated into Blueprint practices and community health teams. This study was based on legislation introduced by Dr. George Till (H. 762) that also included a provision to require Blueprint practices in the state to use the ACE questionnaire as a tool to assess health care. Only the study authorization was included in the final legislation (S. 596, Act 144, signed by Governor on May 27, 2014). The text of that law follows:

“On or before January 15, 2015, the Director of the Blueprint for Health and the Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board or their designees shall review evidence-based materials on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and population health and recommend to the General Assembly whether, how, and at what expense ACE-informed medical practice should be integrated into Blueprint practices and community health teams. The Director and the Chair or their designees shall also develop a methodology by which the Blueprint will evaluate emerging health care delivery quality initiatives to determine whether, how, and to what extent they should be integrated into the Blueprint for Health.”

As the result of that legislation, a report, “Integrating ACE-Informed Practice into the Blueprint for Health,” (http://blueprintforhealth.verm...rt-Final-1-14-15.pdf) was issued in January 15, 2015.

In subsequent legislation (H. 481, signed by the Governor on June 5, 2015, Vt. Act 54 of 2015, in Section 56.), the legislature directed the Blueprint for Health to “work collaboratively to begin including family-centered approaches and adverse childhood experience screenings consistent with the report entitled “Integrating ACE-Informed Practice into the Blueprint for Health.” Considerations should include prevention, early identification, and screening, as well as reducing the impact of adverse childhood experiences through trauma-informed treatment and suicide prevention initiatives.”   Here is the link to the Act (see page 67 of 71):
—Legislation (H. 762) introduced by Dr. Till in 2014; the legislature passed a bill that included a provision to require a study about ACE-informed medical practice, but not to require Blueprint practices in the state to use the ACE questionnaire as a tool to assess health care (Act 144, Sec. 16, p.11-12, signed May 27, 2014)

See two 2014 reports in ACEs Too

ACEs in Home Visiting in New Mexico

N.M. Stat. § 32A-23B-2
As used in the Home Visiting Accountability Act:
D. “home visiting” means a program strategy that:

(1) delivers a variety of informational, educational, developmental, referral and other support services for eligible families who are expecting or who have children who have not yet entered kindergarten and that is designed to promote child well-being and prevent adverse childhood experiences;

Brighter Futures in Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 48.545 Brighter futures initiative
(2) Awarding of grants. (a) From the appropriations under s. 20.437(1)(eg), (kb), and (nL), the department shall distribute $2,097,700 in each fiscal year to applying nonprofit corporations and public agencies operating in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, $1,171,800 in each fiscal year to applying county departments under s. 46.22, 46.23, 51.42, or 51.437 operating in counties other than a county having a population of 750,000 or more, and $55,000 in each fiscal year to Diverse and Resilient, Inc. to provide programs to accomplish all of the following:

1. Prevent and reduce the incidence of youth violence and other delinquent behavior.

2. Prevent and reduce the incidence of youth alcohol and other drug use and abuse.

3. Prevent and reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect.

4. Prevent and reduce the incidence of nonmarital pregnancy and increase the use of abstinence as a method of preventing nonmarital pregnancy.

5. Increase adolescent self-sufficiency by encouraging high school graduation, vocational preparedness, improved social and other interpersonal skills and responsible decision making.
(am) From the amounts allocated under par. (a), the department may distribute an amount determined by the department to a nonprofit corporation or public agency to provide a program that accomplishes all of the following:

1. Prevents and reduces the incidence of adverse early childhood experiences in children 8 years of age and under and reduces the effects of those experiences through behavioral health and other services.
2. Provides professional development, training, and research in serving children 8 years of age and under for practitioners serving those children.

3. Provides direct services for children 8 years of age and under.

4. Provides child care, including a special care nursery, for children 8 years of age and under that has achieved the top rating provided under the child care quality rating system under s. 48.659.

5. Provides early intervention services under s. 51.44, early childhood education services, in-home treatment services, family services, and outpatient occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy services for children 8 years of age and under.

Priority for Trauma-Informed Services provided by Child Protective Services in Florida
Chapter 2015-79, Committee Substitute for SB No. 7078
Enacted March 21, 2015

Florida Law to require community-based organizations that provide child protective services for the state to "give priority to the use of services that are evidence-based and trauma-informed."

Click here for the complete legislative history including staff analyses



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