Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) survey puts a numeric score on the collective negative experience, with the number escalating according to the amount of trauma.
Our staff administers this survey to our Patch Parents, and recently asked the Board of Directors to take it for comparison. While only 7.1% of Board members had a score of 4 or more, 34.5% of Cabbage Patch clients scored a 4 or higher. ACEs have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and early death. An ACE score of 4 or more is considered to be the tipping point, when the effects of trauma become very serious – the likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.
Some striking revelations were found during the last ACE survey in the Family Services department. Before their 18th birthdays, 63% of Patch Parents lost a parent through divorce or abandonment. 43% lived with someone who abused drugs or alcohol. 30% reported feeling like no one in their family loved them or thought they were special. Family Services staff has counseled one client with an ACE score of 8. No one had ever discussed her significant childhood trauma with her. Such counseling is key to breaking the cycle of adverse childhood experiences, so the children of those who have suffered trauma don’t have the same experiences.
The Cabbage Patch strives to offer effective solutions to the difficult problems faced by our families. To that end, our Senior Family Support Specialist is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Scientific research has established that EMDR is therapeutic for a variety of conditions, including panic attacks, addiction, disorders stemming from sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Wellness is measured in many ways, and The Patch is proud to take a holistic approach to increase the health and happiness of families in our community!