Adverse Childhood Experiences: What it means for you

Adverse Childhood Experiences: What it means for you

The event was chaired by Sarah Crawley, Director, Barnardo’s Cymru during the morning and Steve Thomas, CBE, Chief Executive, Welsh Local Government Association in the afternoon. The event was held on 15 March 2017 at All Nations Centre in Cardiff.

The event aimed to provide an opportunity to hear from some experts in the field of ACEs and address how practitioner’s work contributes to reducing the long term impact of ACEs. Delegates had the opportunity during the day to provide valuable feedback to help inform the development of an ACE hub to provide practitioners with support and guidance and become more ACE informed. This was achieved by a number of presentations and a series of workshops using a positive psychology approach. Delegates were also provided with a copy of the ACE info graph that highlights findings from the Welsh study for reference.

The first presentation was delivered by Alyson Francis, ACE Support Hub Director, Cymru Well Wales. Alyson made reference to the results from the first Welsh Adverse Childhood Experience study. This was followed by a showing of the very powerful animation that addresses the impact of ACEs from a child’s perspective and the subsequent health harming and criminal behaviours as a result. Alyson shared some interesting results that show preventing ACEs in future generations could reduce the levels of health harming and criminal behaviours.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales gave a passionate presentation using a number of case studies highlighting the devastating consequences for children who experience ACEs. Sophie highlighted her role as Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and stated that she is very keen to hear from the people of Wales to hear about what they consider are the most important issues and challenges facing Wales in the future and who they think can tackle them.

The final presentation by Dr Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, highlighted her work in relation to the ACE agenda in Wales and emphasised that ACEs must be tackled so that children can exercise their human rights now and in the future. Furthermore that a Public Health approach to ACEs cannot merely tackle the symptoms and that having ‘A Children’s Rights Approach’ can give coherence and strength to Wales’ approach to ACEs.

Dr Aneta Tunariu, Head of Psychological Interventions, University of East London led a number of workshops during the day:

Workshop 1 ‘ACEs in Conversation’ asked delegates to divide into small groups to discuss their opinions on four opening questions on ACEs:

  1. What are your experiences of working with ACEs?
  2. What benefits do you see in relation to the information (research, legislation, strategies and initiatives) presented so far? How can it benefit people who have ACEs? How can it support you in your role?
  3. What are the areas of support that you feel would help adapt your practice?
  4. How would this further aid your contribution to tackling ACEs?

From these questions groups were asked to capture their discussion reflections in the following questions:

a) List up to 3 things that you found helpful/resonate with you from the talks and activities this morning.

b) What are the areas of support that you feel would help adapt your practice?

c) How would this further aid your contribution to tackling ACEs?

Workshop 2 ‘Positive Psychology in my practice’ further elaborated on the area of positive psychology, its principles and applications by discussing the following:

  1. Asking different questions: What works well in spite of?
  2. Skills for change, skills for growth: working with positive and negative emotions

The final workshop of the day entitled ‘Establishing an ACE Hub that is relevant and useful’ asked delegates to address the following questions:

  1. Reflecting on what you know about ACEs and your experience, what do you think the vision and aims for the Support Hub should include?
  2. It will take a collective effort to meet our aims and bring about change, what is your contribution to having an ACE informed Wales?
  3. What could the ACE Support Hub do for you?
  4. What would an ACE-Informed School/Justice System/Care Sector/Housing/Voluntary Sector (choose one most relevant to your group) look like?
  5. We’re not starting from scratch, what assets/facilitating factors have we got already? 

All these workshops generated a variety of answers and information which have been collated in an Evaluation Summary Report.

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