Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Wellness & Recovery

The prosperity and success of our state depends on the healthy development of children. When adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) happen, however, this healthy development is disrupted, leading to a greater risk of negative lifelong health and social consequences. You can find videos from Arizona's 5th Annual ACEs Summit below.


Research shows that as the number of ACEs rises, risk factors for negative life outcomes increase, making children more susceptable to negative mental, behavioral, and physical health problems, including: opioid abuse, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and criminal behavior. ACEs diminish the likelihood for success in school and the workplace. Children in foster care, and those at risk of entering foster care, are especially vulnerable to ACEs. 


Sadly, the number of people who have suffered from two or more ACEs is greater in Arizona than in any other state. 


Preventing and reducing ACEs is critical to the success and well-being of Arizona children and we are grateful for Governor Ducey's leadership as we work to raise the standard of care and support services that we provide to Arizona's youth and families to help mitigate the impact of ACEs. Together, we can make Arizona a healthier, safer and stronger state for all!

December 2018: 5th Annual ACEs Summit: Becoming a Trauma Informed State

Governor Doug Ducey and First Lady Angela Ducey joined national, regional and local leaders on December 11, 2018 at the 5th Annual Arizona ACEs Summit, an event focused on promoting trauma-informed care to best treat those who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Attendees sought proactive ways to mitigate the lifelong effects of traumatic childhood experiences caused by abuse, neglect or household dysfunction through trauma-informed care. With increased knowledge of how to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and its widespread impact, Arizona communities will be able to better implement policies, procedures and practices to prevent re-traumatization.

Attendees also worked on how they can build on current successes to continue improving Arizona’s response to ACEs and trauma. (Read More...)


Statewide Progress

Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS)

    • In just over 3 years, Arizona has moved from last place to first place in foster care reduction.
    • Since 2016, Arizona has seen a 25 percent reduction in the number of children in out-of-home care— and the leadership at DCS has been recognized for the dramatic improvements they’ve made.
    • Since 2016, Arizona has seen a 25% reduction in the number of children in out-of-home care
    • DCS has eliminated the over 16,000 case backlog
    • One of the first child welfare agencies in the nation to overhaul its child welfare operating system, and to implement a secure, cloud-based platform so 1,400 caseworkers could utilize tablets to serve families more efficiently. The mobile app has lessened the time employees spent on onerous paperwork so they can dedicate more time to working with children and families

Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS)

    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program: Designed to provide supplemental nutrition for families with young children. Serves pregnant and nursing moms and children under the age of five.
      • DHS has trained over 600 staff that work in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics statewide to provide knowledge and tools to support moms and pregnant women in improving their resiliency and increasing protective factors against Adverse Childhood Experiences for their children
      • DHS has provided training to over 800 home visiting professionals that provide in-home services to at-risk families on the role childhood trauma can play in adult disease and showed them ways to mitigate the impact of trauma and ACEs
    • Home Visit Program: Offers at-risk families a mechanism for ensuring families have social support, knowledge of available community resources, and ongoing health, developmental and safety education

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)

    • AHCCCS serves over 1.8 million members that live at/near poverty through acute and long term care programs. Specific populations with specialized health care needs include children with complex medical conditions (including CRS), children in foster care, and adults with serious mental illness.
    • AHCCCS has begun the transformation of health plans to whole health plans (AHCCCS Complete Care Plans) to the whole patient. Currently, children in DCS custody do not have this, but it is planned for 2020


    • GOYFF has partnered with DCS to connect families in crisis with churches that are able to provide need-based resources and safely keep kids at home
    • As of December 2018, CarePortal has had an economic impact exceeding $1.5M and it has served more than 4.3K Arizona children.


The Arizona ACE Consortium promotes ideas, policies and practices that reduce and prevent childhood adversity and build resilience in individuals, families and communities. ACEs can last a lifetime, but they don't have to.

Through funding from the Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona has partnered with the Arizona ACE Consortium to develop trauma-informed online modules to train providers on the various ways trauma impacts the brain. The modules are designed to provide ongoing support to Arizonans in order to mitigate the lifelong, devastating impacts of adverse childhood experiences.

Module 1: Introduction to ACEs

Module 2: ACEs and Substance Use Disorder

Module 3: Partnerships for Treatment & Prevention of Substance Use Disorder - Justice Systems

Module 4: Partnerships for Treatment & Prevention of Substance Use Disorder - Schools

Module 5: Partnerships for Treatment & Prevention of Substance Use Disorder - Faith-Based Organizations

Module 6: Partnerships for Treatment & Prevention of Substance Use Disorder - Direct Service Providers

Module 7: Creating Substance Use Prevention Campaigns