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Adverse Childhood Experiences

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 Program Contacts

April Vince MSSA, LSW
Program Manager
216.201.2000 ext 1538
Becky Karns MPH
Program Manager
216.201.2000 ext 1607














What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)  are traumatic experiences that occur during childhood and have a tremendous impact on future  lifelong health and opportunity.

As the number of ACEs increases for a person, so does the risk of poor health outcomes and risk behaviors.


Types of ACEs

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


The ACE Pyramid

The pyramid is a framework that shows that ways in which ACEs ultimately affect a child’s life from conception until death. 

ACEs occur at the beginning of a child’s life and set the groundwork for lifelong risks, poor decisions and bad behavior.



ACEs and Substance Abuse/Misuse

Experiencing trauma can lead people to substance misuse as a way to deal with anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)  study tells us that a person with 6 ACEs is 46 times more likely to develop a heroin-related substance use disorder than a person with no ACEs.

Locally, we are experiencing very high numbers of drug overdose deaths.

In 2017, two residents died per day from a drug overdoses. In 2018, our emergency rooms were treating up to 13 patients a day for drug-related injuries.


CCBH is working with local partners to help address and prevent ACEs and substance misuse/abuse.

  • The Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board of Cuyahoga County is helping to build resilient kids in our community by training local law enforcement and school staff about the impacts of ACEs and creating awareness around how to support our local community.
  • Berea City School District is providing an assessment of ACEs and resiliency in students and providing opportunities for engagement in supportive classes.
  • The Berea Police Department is helping identify kids in our community that could benefit from extra support from their school.
  • Ohio Guidestone is providing resiliency programming and mentoring to kids.










The presence of ACEs does not mean that a child will experience poor outcomes.
A child’s positive experiences and protective factors will help protect our kids as they grow.


Credit: Danny DeBelius/NPR

What’s my ACE score and what does it mean? 


Resources & Links

Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence
This is a resource to help states and communities leverage the best available evidence to prevent ACEs from happening in the first place as well as lessen harms when ACEs do occur. It features six strategies drawn from the CDC Technical Packages to Prevent Violence.









The Family Resource Guide offers help for families impacted by opioid addiction.



CCOTF is a county coalition that was established in 2010. With CCBH serving as the lead agency, the CCOTF has developed surveillance, prevention and evaluation strategies supporting greater public awareness of the opioid epidemic.

Members include more than 250 concerned citizens and dedicated professionals from partner agencies specializing in drug treatment/recovery, education, health care, law enforcement, medicine, prevention, mental health services, and public health.

Bi-monthly meetings are held at the CCBH offices in Parma. Please contact April Vince at 216.201.2000 for more information.

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