The Burke Foundation and the New Jersey Adverse Childhood Experiences Collaborative Announces New Statewide Campaign

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Burke Foundation and  the New Jersey Adverse Childhood Experiences Collaborative Announces New Statewide Campaign

The New Jersey ACEs Collaborative today launched Actions 4 ACEs, a statewide campaign to raise public awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the simple actions that can make a positive impact. In collaboration with the Burke Foundation, The Nicholson Foundation, Turrell Fund, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the New Jersey Office of Resilience, the campaign focuses its messaging on educators and law enforcement officers and the role they can play in helping children to heal.

“One caring, competent adult can make all the difference to a child experiencing a traumatic event. Whether it is sharing encouragement, an interest, or a conversation, these simple acts are just the start of showing a child you care,” says Dave Ellis, Executive Director of the New Jersey Office of Resilience. “Our broad network of partners provides invaluable resources so that, together, we can make a difference for children, families and communities across New Jersey.”

“Many facets of New Jersey’s maternal and infant health crisis stem from adverse childhood experiences,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy. “Soon-to-be parents who have had adverse childhood experiences are at greater risk of having children with reduced birth weight, shorter gestational age, developmental challenges, and socio-emotional issues. Working alongside our Nurture NJ strategic plan, this statewide awareness campaign will increase understanding of this issue, raise awareness of available resources, and undoubtedly effect positive change for New Jersey’s families and babies.”

Throughout the state, people and organizations are coming together to minimize the impact of ACEs among New Jersey’s children. In addition to the Actions 4 ACEs campaign, in October 2020 New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal issued Directive 2020-09, which established the program Handle With Care and requires law enforcement officers to notify schools when a child has recently faced a trauma. Handle With Care also promotes safe and supportive homes, schools and communities. Interested individuals or organizations can also participate in the Office of Resilience’s customized ACEs training opportunities at no cost.

“Law enforcement officers often engage with youth during difficult moments in their lives, moments that will live on as memories and can potentially be traumatic,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Through initiatives like Handle With Care, we can help support youth during these critical moments, and I encourage all law enforcement officers in New Jersey to learn more about ACEs.”

“ACEs are at the root cause of some of the most harmful and expensive societal and health challenges. We also know that buffering adversity through positive, nurturing relationships can advance our children’s health, well-being and resilience,” says James Burke, president and chairman of the Burke Foundation. “Actions 4 ACEs is an important first step in educating caring adults on the problem of ACEs and shift how people think about the causes and how they can help be part of the solution, starting with the simple but powerful resources launched as part of the campaign.”

The Actions 4 ACEs campaign makes available a variety of free resources, including a partner toolkit and educational materials to increase outreach among law enforcement and education professionals. The campaign offers resources targeting the more than 30,000 law enforcement and 200,000 education professionals serving the State of New Jersey. By working together, sharing resources, and encouraging training through professional association partners, caring and competent adults can help reduce the impact of ACEs while making New Jersey a more trauma-informed and healing centered-state.

About Actions 4 ACEs

Actions 4 ACEs is a statewide campaign to expand public awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The campaign was created to educate groups that serve as primary responders to children. It will have an initial focus on educators and law enforcement officers to educate these groups about what ACEs are and what steps they can take to address ACEs and lessen their impact. The Actions 4 ACEs campaign works in support of existing state and local initiatives focused on ACEs. It affords New Jersey another opportunity to champion community voice and address the root causes and negative effects of ACEs.

About NJ ACEs Collaborative

Actions 4 ACEs is an initiative guided by the New Jersey ACEs Collaborative, a public-private partnership consisting of the Burke Foundation, The Nicholson Foundation, the Turrell Fund, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the New Jersey Office of Resilience. Our vision is to make New Jersey a trauma-informed, healing-centered state — a place where children and families can thrive regardless of who they are or where they live. To do this, we aim to increase public awareness of ACEs and encourage behaviors that can mitigate the impact ACEs can have on children, families and communities.

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