In a column in the Chronicle for Social Change, Jeremy Loudback addresses what he terms likely “unintended consequences” of using the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) questionnaire as a screening tool.
Originally created for a 1997 study that found correlations between childhood trauma and health problems in adulthood, the ACEs screening tool asks respondents 10 questions about their experiences as children, including questions about abuse and parental presence. The greater the number of negative events – abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc. – the greater the likelihood of physical, mental and emotional issues as an adult.
Loudback, who covers child trauma for the publication, attests the scientific soundness of the test and surrounding research, but he wonders whether capacity exists to respond to and manage the expected jump in the number of reports, especially owing to the growth of mandatory reporting requirements for incidents of abuse and neglect.
As screening moves into new settings, such as schools, juvenile justice system and elsewhere, “you have to have a plan of action when the answer is yes,” posits Loudback. There must be a way to intervene and to help, support and treat positive respondents.
You can read the full column here.