Building Community Resilience: Focus of “State of the Child” Breakfast

The annual Wake County Smart “State of the Child” breakfast, held in September to a capacity crowd, focused on creating a system of prevention and responsive support for those in need that ultimately reduces traumatic experiences for children.

This year’s event featured keynote speaker Dr. Wendy Ellis, a Milkin Scholar in Healthy Policy at the Milkin Institute School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy & Management at the Sumner Redstone Global Center for Prevention & Wellness of George Washington University.

Dr. Ellis shared a national perspective on how communities can develop a protective buffer against Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) occurring in Adverse Community Environments (ACEs), which she called the “Pair of ACEs.” 

The BCR Pair of ACEs Tree

ACEs in the first instance refers to how 10 types of childhood trauma affect long-term health, and include physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and living with a family member who’s addicted to alcohol or other substances. Areas in which children and families routinely encounter these traumas can be called the latter ACEs.

According to Dr. Ellis, the Building Community Resilience Model (BCR) that has evolved from her studies is a tool in the effort to develop an intentional, collaborative and systemic way to help communities nurture children in their midst. Following the keynote, Dr. Ellis led a workshop for attendees, many of whom are already working in the ACES prevention field.

Kellan Moore, President and CEO of the John Rex Endowment, said BCR/Pair of ACEs is not meant to replace but instead complement ACEs work. “It was helpful to learn the nuts and the bolts of BCR, and to better understand how other communities are organizing, what tools are effective and what they have learned along the way,” she said. “Wake County leaders are going to form an exploratory committee to hold more in-depth conversations about the model and decide whether or not to further implement it in Wake County.”

The exploratory committee will be made up of the “Year of the Child” host organizations and will hold its first meeting in November.

The John Rex Endowment is pleased to have hosted the event alongside Advocates for Health in Action, NCSU Cooperative Extension, The Kaleidoscope Project, Wake County Human Services, Wake County Smart Start and Youth Thrive.