The Family Tree and Maryland Essentials for Childhood Launch Adverse Childhood Experience Project


Groundbreaking initiative addresses growing epidemic of childhood trauma and adversity in the state of Maryland, with training led by renowned childhood behavior expert Dr. Robert Anda

The Family Tree, Maryland’s leading child abuse and neglect prevention organization, in partnership with the Maryland Essentials for Childhood, will launch a statewide initiative Wednesday evening to combat the growing incidence rate of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which has become one of the largest public health crises in the state of Maryland. Designed in partnership with the world-renowned childhood behavior expert Dr. Robert Anda, The ACE Interface Project is focused on building resilience in the developing brains of susceptible youth and building self-healing communities.

The ACE Interface Project launches at a critical time when the state of Maryland, and the U.S. in general, is experiencing an alarming increase in the reported number of children exposed to abuse. The ACE Study has proven that such incidences of childhood trauma can have a damaging effect on the brains and bodies of children—which unfolds across a lifetime. Recent statistics at the national level have shown that children exposed to trauma, including physical abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence, are twice as likely to develop heart disease. They are three times as likely to suffer depression, and have 20 years lower life expectancy.

“We see the cyclical effects of childhood adversity in families we serve every day,” said Patricia Cronin, executive director of The Family Tree. “The ACE Study proves that child abuse and trauma negatively changes the developing brains of children and leads to a lifetime of social and emotional issues, poor health outcomes, and, ultimately, a shorter lifespan than children raised in safe and supportive environments. The ACE Interface Project is hope for the future here in Maryland and across the world.”

The goal of The ACE Interface Project is to share the findings of the study effectively and to promote change within society. Included as part of the project is The ACE Interface Master Training Program, a two-day training provided by world-renowned Dr. Robert Anda, the co-principal investigator of the ACE Study, along with Laura Porter, the co-founder of ACE Interface, LLC. Thetraining program is designed to raise awareness about ACEs and the science of resilience, and to work through the process of taking that knowledge and implementing it into daily life through person-to-person interaction and community engagement so that the health and wellbeing of society will improve across a lifespan. In less than a year, the Master Trainer Program can enable delivery of ACE information to diverse communities of tens of thousands of people.

The first two-day training session in Maryland is scheduled for November 16-17, 2017. Twenty-five people from around the state have been identified to be trainers, representing each of the child and family serving state agencies (DHS, DJS, MDH, and MSDE) as well as multiple sectors (judicial, pediatrics, parent leadership, child care, education, faith-based, law enforcement, evidence-based home visiting, domestic violence, child advocacy centers, child welfare, CASA, business, foundations, mental health, media, and higher education). Each of the seven regions of the state will have at least two Master Trainers available locally. Trainers have committed to educate their local communities and professional colleagues in brain science, ACEs and resilience. The cohort will meet quarterly to share lessons learned, improve skills and assess the progress of dissemination efforts.

Maryland joins Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, South Carolina and Washington in adopting the ACE Interface Master Training Program.

About Maryland Essentials for Childhood Initiative

Maryland Essentials for Childhood (EFC) is a statewide collective impact initiative to prevent child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). It promotes relationships and environments that help children grow up to be healthy and productive citizens so that they, in turn, can build stronger and safer families and communities for their children (a multi-generation approach). Maryland EFC includes public and private partners from across the state; and, receives technical assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, learning from national experts and leading states.

About The Family Tree

The Family Tree (Prevent Child Abuse Maryland) is Maryland’s leading child abuse and neglect prevention organization, providing the education and support parents need to raise healthy, productive children. More than 21,000 individuals receive help each year through their research backed parenting classes, home visitation services, support groups, 24-hour HelpLine. They are headquartered in Baltimore City with satellite locations in Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Prince George’s Counties. The Family Tree is 4 star rated by Charity Navigator, an affiliate of the National Exchange Club, and Parents Anonymous®. For more information, visit

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