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Ohio House Passes Bill to Establish Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study Commission

Ohio House Passes Bill to Establish Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study Commission

The Ohio House of Representatives’ vote on HB 352 to establish the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study Commission marks an important step forward in addressing childhood trauma. In support of this bill, Adoption Network Cleveland garnered the support of over ten advocates who submitted written testimony, including heartfelt letters from two children adopted from foster care. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Rachel Baker (D-Cincinnati) and Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton).

One touching testimony from a 9-year-old advocate stated, “I was in foster care for a long time. It was really hard. I support you starting this study commission. I do not want other kids to go through what me and my brother went through.”

The original ACEs study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente between 1995 and 1997, was instrumental in highlighting the lifelong effects of childhood trauma. It established a clear link between the number of adverse experiences a person has in childhood and their health outcomes in adulthood. These experiences—including emotional and physical abuse, neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal behavior, divorce, separation, and the loss of a loved one—can lead to serious physical and mental health issues, as well as lifelong challenges in learning and employment.

Research by Child Trends reveals that one in ten children across the nation has experienced three or more ACEs, putting them at exceptionally high risk. This figure is as high as one in seven children in Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio.

The newly formed ACEs Study Commission will comprise two Senate members, two House members, representatives from healthcare, child welfare, and law enforcement, and individuals with lived experience. This diverse group will prepare a report each year to submit to the General Assembly identifying potential legislative strategies for addressing the prevalence and long-term effects of ACEs.

Julia Barton, an adoptive parent and member of Adoption Network Cleveland’s Public Policy Committee, emphasized the importance of this initiative: “By understanding ACEs, our state can develop preventive strategies. Early intervention and support can mitigate the impact of trauma, promoting resilience and healthier outcomes. Studying ACEs informs public health policies and programs. It helps allocate resources effectively, create trauma-informed systems, and break cycles of adversity.”

Adoption Network Cleveland applauds the outcome of the Ohio House of Representatives vote and remains committed to advancing initiatives that prioritize the well-being of Ohio's children and families.


Join Us in Supporting HB 352 to the Finish Line

Adverse Childhood Experiences impact not just individual children and families but also the health and well-being of Ohio's communities. By understanding and addressing ACEs, we can develop preventive strategies that foster resilience and healthier outcomes.

We invite you to join us in supporting the movement of this bill through the Ohio Senate for it to become law. For more information and to get involved, please contact Betsie Norris at Betsie.Norris@adoptionnetwork.org or a member of our public policy committee.

Together, we can continue to work toward trauma-informed legislation that prioritizes the health and future of all children, allocates resources effectively, and breaks cycles of adversity.