Adverse Childhood Experiences: Building Community Capacity and Resilience for Prevention and Mitigation (In Focus Brief)

In Focus Brief
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Jul 14, 2016
Natalya Verbitsky-Savitz

Key Findings:

  • Positive and statistically significant changes occurred in the areas of (1) building awareness of ACEs, (2) family support, (3) risk behavior reduction and healthy youth development, (4) school climate and student success, and(5) community development.
  • Development of community capacity varied. It was highest in the areas of (1) cross-sector partnerships, (2) evidence-based problem solving, (3) shared goals,(4) effective communication with partners, and (5) focusing on equity.
  • There were multiple models of success, and there may not exist one “best” community capacity building model. • All networks face sustainability challenges.
This mixed-method evaluation examined five community-based initiatives in Washington State intended to prevent child maltreatment and exposure to toxic stress, mitigate their effects, and improve child and youth development outcomes. The study had two phases. During the first phase (2013–2014), the research team assessed operational contexts, strategies used to increase community capacity to prevent ACEs, and impact at the county level. In the second phase (2015–2016), the researchers examined the extent to which sites developed capacity to achieve their goals, and the relationship of select sites’ efforts to outcomes at the local level.