Researchers have known for some time that children who experience abuse and neglect will continue to be negatively affected — even as adults. On the evening of Wednesday, July 6, members of the Millville Fire Department and the Millville EMT Department gathered together as part of an initiative from Delaware-based non-profit Children & Families First to grow awareness of “ACEs,” which stands for “adverse childhood experiences.”
Laura Rimmer, development coordinator for Children & Families First, presented “Adverse Childhood Experiences: Nature, Nurture, Neurons & Next Steps.” Rimmer spoke on the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) study showing direct links between adverse childhood experiences and chronic disease, mental illness, violence, substance abuse and shortened lifespan.
Attendees at the presentation expressed shock over not only the 20 years off a person’s lifespan that can result from a higher ACEs score, but also the prevalence of ACEs throughout all communities and economic brackets.
“The goal of these presentations is not only to expand awareness of childhood trauma, but to show the community that it’s possible to prevent and overcome these experiences,” stated Rimmer, “In working with families, you see clearly that what may have previously viewed as a discipline issue is the child reacting to an incarcerated parent, a child who is hungry or a child who is being neglected and abused.”
Children & Families First is a statewide organization offering free programs throughout Delaware, with campuses in Wilmington, Hockessin, Dover, Georgetown and Seaford. Their agency vision is: “Communities where children are nurtured, healthy and safe; individuals are valued; and families are strong and self-sufficient.”
Through programs that span mental health, healthcare, education and social services, and working together to support families through major life phases, Children & Families First strives to be a source of prevention, change and multi-generational impact.
“What I hope is that after this presentation the attendees feel more empowered on how we can change these dire numbers, how we can work together to better understand and help these children,” stated Rimmer, “and that our mutual commitment to prevention and trauma informed care will change destinies now and well into future generations.
“I was very grateful for the opportunity to present to the Millville Fire and EMS departments, and I applaud their willingness to learn more about the topic proving their commitment to protecting the health and safety of the communities they serve.”
Children & Families First will continue to organize ACEs awareness presentations for the community. For more information on scheduling a presentation for an organization, business or group, contact Laura Rimmer at Laura.Rimmer@cffde.org or call (302) 604-6277.