Adverse Childhood Experiences: What they tell us and implications for social care

Published: 04/02/2021

This podcast considers Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – what they can tell us, as well as cautions and limitations – and the implications for public health and children’s social care.

Fidelma Hanrahan, Senior Research Officer at Research in Practice, speaks to Kirsten Asmussen, Head of What Works, Child Development at the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), and lead author of the 2020 EIF report titled Adverse Childhood Experiences: What we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next.

They discuss Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – what they can tell us, as well as cautions and limitations – and the implications for public health and children’s social care.

Talking points

This podcast looks at:

  • What prompted the 2020 EIF report into ACEs.
  • What do we mean by ACEs and what does the evidence tell us about them?
  • What do we know about how common ACEs are?
  • What do we not know about ACEs from the available evidence? What are some of the cautions and limitations around interpreting the evidence?
  • What is routine ACE screening and what does the evidence related to routine ACE screening suggest?
  • What does good policy that takes into account this evidence base look like? How should ACEs evidence base be responded to by frontline services?

Resources mentioned in this podcast

Related resources

Reflective questions

Here are reflective questions to stimulate conversation and support practice. 

  • What approach do you/your organisation take to working with children and families who may have experienced childhood trauma?
  • What support services are available to children and families when trauma is uncovered?
  • What can you/your organisation do to prevent the stigmatising those who have experienced trauma, and avoid viewing their futures in deterministic ways?