Martin County Center: (507) 238-4757
Faribault County Center: (507) 526-3265
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Martin County Center: (507) 238-4757
Faribault County Center: (507) 526-3265

Home   |   Contact   |  Calendar  |   Blog


Do You Know Your Number?

Adverse Childhood Experiences, otherwise known as ACEs, are highly stressful experiences of abuse, neglect and household or community challenges that happen to us as children. The more ACEs a person has, the more likely they are to suffer from diseases like cancer, heart disease, mental health conditions and life challenges. Knowing your number gives us power to understand our history but do not define our future. 

The term Adverse Childhood Experiences comes from a groundbreaking study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente in 1997. It looked at ten types of stressful or traumatic events that fall into three categories - Abuse, Neglect and Household Challenges. 


Physical, emotional/verbal or sexual abuse

The findings?

ACEs are common—probably more common than you think—nearly 2 out of every three (or 61%) of all respondents experienced at least one type of ACE.

Additionally, nearly one in six people (16%) reported four or more types of ACEs.

Females and American Indian/Alaskan Native Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic groups were more likely to experience 4 or more ACEs. Evidence supports that some children and families are at greater risk for ACEs due to the historical, social, structural, political, and economic environments in which they live.

Data tells us that ACEs add up over time and impact our health and life outcomes.

The more types of adversities you experience, the higher your risk of experiencing poor health outcomes, like depression, overweight/obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Also, you are more likely to engage in health risk behaviors, such as smoking and heavy drinking, and to experience poor socioeconomic outcomes, such as unemployment.

Since the initial study, we’ve learned that other common childhood adversities impact children similarly to ACEs. 

In the above video, learn from leading ACEs researcher  Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as she discusses the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress and why there is hope for healing—at any age. In the above below, hear more about the ACEs study and how other Minnesota Communities are working together to promote resiliency and prevent ACEs.  Click here to watch the entire PBS series here about St. Cloud, MN. 


Not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter at any point in time. 


Adversity in childhood often leads to toxic stress. Stress on it’s own isn’t a bad thing, it can be positive.  Our body’s stress response is designed to give us a boost of energy and increase focus so we can better tackle the situation. There are three types of stress:

Positive Stress

Imagine being a child walking into class for a big test or onto the field for an important game. Our heart pumps faster and our palms sweat. This helps engage our body for the task ahead - and things return to normal once the situation is past.

As children, ACEs can cause us to develop a toxic stress response.

ACEs are not our fault, and we don’t have control over when or why they happened. They can be a single event, or they can be an ongoing struggle where our safety, security, trust or even our own sense of self is threatened or violated.

Knowledge is power. You can have a new path forward. Healing is possible and the first step is taking back control and building your resiliency.