Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) for Trauma- and Bereavement-Informed Care

Event Title

2nd Annual Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference

Event Location


Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date


Date Range



The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) studies have greatly helped to raise public awareness concerning the potent, broad-spectrum, and enduring effects childhood exposure to trauma and other severe adversities. Nevertheless, the ACEs measures were developed originally for medical research and possess limited utility—and potentially serious drawbacks—when used for intervention-related applications including risk screening, clinical referral, or intervention planning. This break-out session will discuss the importance of incorporating a developmentally-informed conceptual framework and developmentally-sensitive measures in creating trauma-informed and developmentally sensitive systems of care. This includes initial risk screening, triage/referral, diagnostic/in-depth clinical assessment, trauma- and developmentally informed case conceptualization, intervention planning, and intervention delivery. Introducing the concepts of risk factor caravans and resource caravans, the presentation will discuss basic principles of seeking to both launch/promote beneficial resource caravans while inhibiting/protecting against risk factor caravans. Further, COVID and other spiking epidemics including overdose, suicide, and homicide underscore the importance of recognizing the needs of bereaved youth and families. This includes using appropriate assessment tools and interventions for youth experiencing both trauma-related and loss-related distress.


  • Summarize key findings of the ACEs studies (health consequences, intergenerational cascades, SES, social health determinants).
  • Discuss limitations and drawbacks to using the ACEs for risk screening or assessment applications.
  • Explain why and how a developmental approach enriches our ability to understand and apply ACEs-related findings and principles.
  • Define the concepts of resource caravans, risk factor caravans, and caravan passageways.
  • Discuss basic intervention guidelines for launching/promoting resource caravans while inhibiting/protecting against risk factor caravans.