States produce a bumper crop of ACEs bills in 2017—nearly 40 bills in 18 states

NCSLA scan done in March by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), through StateNet, of bills introduced in 2017 that specifically include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the text produced a surprising number of bills — close to 40 — in a 18 states. A scan done a year ago produced less than a handful. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves state legislators and their staffs.

The shear volume of bills in so many states represents a promising trend—a growing interest by state policymakers in ACEs science. Most of the bills are still pending in state legislatures. A Utah resolution to promote ACEs science in state policy was signed by the state’s governor and a Virginia resolution that mentions ACEs in trauma-informed community networks was passed by the legislature. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a bill to include ACEs science in that state’s Medicaid Family Home Visiting program.

The NCSL noted these trends from the search of bills that specifically mention ACEs. The bills:
—create task forces or study or review committees (whether for ACEs specifically or members/content included on a related topic, like foster care);—appropriate funds for ACEs prevention;
—require or encourage providers to use an ACE questionnaire or screening tool;
—support the development of pilot projects or initiatives for ACEs prevention;
—provide school resource officer (MA) or pre-K teacher (VT) with training related to ACEs.

ACEs Connection Network staff (with leads from ACN members and other sources) follow and report on bills that include references to trauma-informed policy (with and without a mention of ACEs) and broader bills that would have the effect of mitigating ACEs without a specific reference to trauma-informed approaches or ACEs. A summary of these bills is now being updated and will be available soon, as well as statutes that relate directly to these topics.

You can find a snapshot of all laws and resolutions in the States ACEs Action group on ACEs Connection, the social network that accompanies ACEs Too High.

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