By Katie Brown, TFG Advocate
As professionals who work with families and children in difficult circumstances, we often talk about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood, such as having a parent with an addiction or mental health struggle, moving multiple times, or experiencing abuse or neglect.
These experiences impact a child’s sense of security and can have lasting effects on their developing brain. High ACES scores can impact a child’s future health-both mental and physical, their relationships, and even their ability to secure employment.
In addition to ACEs, there is also another score that we like to talk about at Together for Good. It’s a score that’s a little more hopeful: the “Positive Childhood Experiences” (PCEs) score. PCEs are exactly what they sound like.
Research is showing that children with high ACEs can still have a high level of resiliency when they have a high score on the PCEs assessment. This shows us that even children who grow up in poverty, addiction and chronic stress still have hope!
What’s unique about the PCE assessment is that every item that is identified as “positive” has one underlying theme: relationships.
Positive childhood experiences that lead to strong resiliency are all based around a solid relational start: a strong family even within adversity, steady relationships during hard times, and a sense of purpose and belonging.
ACEs and PCEs are measurable and studied scales used by professionals to address the root causes of many issues. They inform how we create our models for care. But the conclusions that have been drawn from these studies support what we, as Christians, have known to be true for centuries.
Relationships are vital. Families are vital.
The family is God’s idea and goes all the way back to creation.
When God created Adam, He said that it is not good for man to be alone, and He went on to give Adam a family. God mentions family dynamics in the ten commandments. In the Psalms, it is said that “God sets the lonely in families.” In Jesus’s life on this earth, we see that He was born to a mom and adopted by a dad.
Even Jesus had a family.
But what happens if a family is struggling with few resources to help them move towards stability?
We know that there’s often layers to struggles and there’s no quick fix. Temporary relief doesn’t always lead to lasting change. Many assistance programs do the necessary work meeting immediate physical needs, but once the food or vouchers are given, the “client” goes back to their situation.
These programs fail to provide what struggling families need most: gospel-centered RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships that are committed for the long haul and don’t go away once a physical need is met.
That’s why we do what we do at Together for Good.
We know that change doesn’t happen overnight. And we know that even one healthy relationship over a long period of time can make all the difference for a family in crisis.
We also believe the church is ready to lean into these relationships, and we are here to help make sure it happens – in a competently compassionate way. And we need your help.
Would you join our mission?
When you invest in the relationships, you invest in families being supported for the long haul.
You invest in professional oversight and case management for all involved-from the volunteers, to the adults we serve, to the children we serve.
You invest in “positive childhood experiences.”
You invest in God’s plan for bringing hope, resiliency, and a new path forward.