The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) will use the $100,000 gift to develop a Community Education and Resiliency Center to combat the long-term impact of childhood trauma. This facility will house the CAC prevention and community awareness team, who will develop partnerships with members of the education, medical, mental-health, and advocacy sectors, to form a collaborative approach to addressing complex trauma in our community. In addition, the Community Education and Resiliency Center will provide professional trainings, community outreach, and consultation to partner agencies seeking to implement intervention strategies for clients with high Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) scores.
Adverse Childhood Experiences are 10 potentially traumatic events that happen before a child turns 18. Types of ACEs include physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, losing a parent through divorce, death, or incarceration, being exposed to domestic violence, or having a parent who suffers from mental illness or struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. Each of these are reasons children are seen at the CAC.
In 2020, the CAC began measuring the ACE scores of children and caregivers served by the Center. These scores help us predict long-term physical and mental health outcomes. Results from these assessments have shown the average scores of children and their caregivers is a four. According to the ACE's Connection Network, with an ACE score of 4 or more, the likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390%; hepatitis, 240%; depression, 460%; and suicide, 1,220%, while an ACE score of 6 decreases expected lifespan by 20 years. These numbers are alarming, yet research suggests that addressing complex trauma at its onset allows for a chance at a healthy and productive adult life.
While the CAC provides critical interventions after disclosure, our services are reactive in nature. Our goal is to focus on proactive measures that can be taken to stop abuse before it happens, which is best achieved through widespread education and awareness. In addition, it's estimated that for every child who discloses abuse, 9 others are suffering in silence (Darkness to Light).
The goal of the Community Education and Resiliency Center is to first prevent child abuse, and second to reach the silent 90% who are most at risk of lifelong negative consequences due to unresolved trauma. We imagine a community where every pediatrician has the skills to screen for ACEs and report for intervention, where every educator is aware of the warning signs for a child in crisis, and every caregiver has the knowledge and tools to prevent trauma where able, and to know the resources available should trauma find its way to their door despite their best efforts.
It is only with your support that we can influence the shift in how trauma is identified, addressed, and prevented in Lincoln. If selected, the funds gifted by UBT will help develop the Community Education and Resiliency Center where a team of professionals with extensive knowledge on ACES and trauma-informed care will begin the critical work of helping our community heal from trauma.
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