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Advancing our thinking: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)

Event/course Code EDU 19/284
Event/course type Conference
Event Introduction Following on from the successful Beating Anxiety Conference in October 2018 , AfC’s Emotional Health Service will focus this year on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s).
This conference is open to all practitioners working with children and young people across Richmond, Kingston, Windsor and Maidenhead.

The original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study was conducted in California in 1995 by Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda. ACEs refer to highly stressful events experienced during childhood such as psychological, physical and sexual abuse; emotional and physical neglect, domestic violence and family conflict; loss of a parent/carer, parental imprisonment, parental mental illness and addiction. ACEs create dangerous levels of stress and compromise a child’s healthy brain development, which in turn can results in long-term effects on a child’s learning, behaviour, physical and mental health and long term outcomes throughout the life-course.

Their research has been replicated among communities from diverse backgrounds and childhood adversity is consistently shown to create harmful levels of stress recognised as toxic stress; and due to extended exposure to these stressors children and young people are shown to experience complex trauma. Individuals who have experienced 4 or more such adversities are found to be more than 12 times likely to attempt suicide.

ACEs are considered a public health concern because of the wide ranging negative social, health, and economic impacts. Research from the ACE studies across the world have all demonstrated that there is a powerful relationship between our emotional experiences as children and our mental and physical health as adults. These studies have shown that humans convert traumatic emotional experiences in childhood into mental and physical health problems in later life.

The main finding that emerged from the ACEs research is that the impact of adversity and complex trauma comes from the lack of reliable and nurturing relationships and systems that can help the child or young person to cope with the overwhelming stress and anxiety traumatic experiences cause.
Event Content This will be a comprehensive and valuable day for practitioners who are working with children and young people across all areas of the Children’s workforce. There will be an opportunity for networking, sharing ideas and hearing from experts in the field.

The Emotional Health Service has been promoting dialogue on issues that affect children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and how services might respond to these challenges. Childhood trauma left untreated and unresolved has major long-term consequences on the educational and social outcomes, emotional/ psychological maturity, behaviour management, and mental and physical health outcomes for those affected.

This conference is the first step in the Service’s endeavour to provide a better understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and encourage participants to respond to and take action to limit the impact of toxic stress and complex trauma to minimise their devastating and long term impact on children and young people. There is a recognition for increased collaboration among multidisciplinary professionals to promote trauma informed care for improved emotional and mental wellbeing, educational and social outcomes and better life chances for those affected. The workshops offer targeted focus on an area of adverse experience, impact on children and young people and implications for practice.

Following the conference the Emotional Health Service will host Action Learning Sets for delegates where it provides its expertise to develop trauma informed care tailored to their setting: how to recognise complex trauma, policies and procedures for support including adaptations of strategies within schools, early-years settings, social care and clinical practices. These strategies are intended where possible to address the trauma, provide nurture and promote resilience to ensure best outcomes for children and young people.

The conference will begin with a film and an assessment led by Dr Jo Steer and Daphne Cotton (WAVE Trust 70/30 Ambassador
Consultant Facilitator BEST BEGINNINGS).

Daphne's journey to the 70/30 campaign started over 15 years ago when she was involved in research into socially excluded young people who had been involved in drug or alcohol abuse, who had truanted from school, who had been in prison, or were homeless or they were teenage parents. Many had been violent. The one connecting factor was that they had all, without exception, had appalling early life experiences. At the end of every interview she wanted to hug them all, they were only kids really who had been dealt lousy cards. And now we know that, in all likelihood, their parents had had similar experiences and so the cycle of dysfunction continues. The 70/30 campaign is saying ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we stop the damage BEFORE it happens, support vulnerable parents BEFORE they have a chance to neglect or abuse their own children’. It seems so simple and so obvious. Solutions often are. Daphne is very excited to be part of this life changing campaign and knows that if enough people add their support, we will make the world a better place.”

Dr Jo Steer; is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in working with children and young people with a diagnosis of ADHD and their families. In addition she has supported professionals both locally, nationally and internationally through consultation, training and conferences. Dr Jo Steer is co-author of “Helping Kids & Teens with ADHD in School”; she also contributed to the development of the NICE quality standard for ADHD in 2013. Dr Jo Steer is the Head of the Emotional Health Service at Achieving for Children in Kingston and Richmond.

Morning workshops on offer will include the following:

• Attachment in the Classroom
• Early Years 1001 days
• Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers & Trauma
• Childhood Bereavement

Afternoon workshops on offer will include the following:

• Domestic Violence
• Parental Mental Health & Substance Misuse
• ACE's and Looked After Children / Children in Care Council
• Attachment in the Classroom

During the final key note of the day delegates will hear from an ACE SURVIVOR- who is the Author of ACE in the Shadows and Founder of the Cumbria Resilience Project and a Core Participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in London (IICSA). He is a 10 ACEs Survivor, including CSA and CSE whilst living in Care in England. He is now a Trainer and Speaker with 7 children and 7 grandchildren. As Founder of the Cumbria Resilience Project his journey commenced when he watched Dr Nadine Burke Harris give her TED-TALK in September 2014. As the science and research of ACEs was explained he had a light-bulb moment, realising he scored 10 on the ACEs questionnaire. Everything Dr Nadine Burke Harris said brought understanding and an overwhelming feeling of relief. He had finally found something that made some sense of his own life journey. Since that day he has been determined to spread the word and knowledge about ACEs and has instigated the launch of the CUMBRIA RESILIENCE PROJECT. He has also assisted with the publication of Cumbria County Councils 2018 Public Health Report entitled: Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Full workshop choice and content will be available nearer the time along with the full agenda. We are sure that this conference will be an inspiring and engaging event which will be valuable for practitioners of varying experience. There will be something for everyone!
Event Learning Outcomes After the conference delegates will be able to:

• Explore and share best practice in supporting vulnerable children and young people across disciplines
• Demonstrate an increased awareness of ACE’s
• Apply new skills and strategies for children and young people with mental health difficulties and adverse childhood experience
• Contribute to the development of support strategies towards implementing Trauma Informed Care within their setting
• Demonstrate the benefits of Networking opportunities with other practitioners from the wider Children workforce
• Cascade to colleagues the key themes from the national speakers
Trainers Various Trainers
Course categories Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
Age Ranges
0 - 5 yrs No 5 - 7 yrs No 7 - 11 yrs No 11 - 19 yrs No 19+ yrs No 
Event/course administrator Claire Grayson (
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SessionSession DateSession TimeSession VenueMap
Session 1Wednesday 9 October 201908:30 - 16:15Harlequin FC, Members Club House, Langhorn Drive, TW1 7SX