The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF) has long shared the struggle that many face to define the depths of the challenges and the invisibility of marginalized girls and young women in the United States. This is crucial if we are to advance policies and programs that support the needs and potential of marginalized girls. TNCF believes that ACE brings the challenges they face to life through a simple ten-item survey and because everyone has an ACE score it enables us to relate to each other in that context.

The ACE Survey is a valuable tool that harnesses the power of data to foster social change. ACE data increases awareness about the breadth and impact of exposure to childhood adversity and the resulting complex trauma. Combined with brain research and the science of epigenetics, we now know more about the damage that adverse childhood experiences creates, and about the life-long process of healing. Thankfully, we also know about the tremendous capacity of young women to heal and thrive. We know that the ACE Survey is limited in scope, and that it does not include all the forms of adversity that children and youth today face. As such, you will read in this brief how we intend to work with young women as leaders to address these limitations.

We believe that the key to accessing the resources and policies needed to promote the potential of this very marginalized population is our ability to define the obstacles that confront them through no fault of their own. This must be done in terms that can be understood by a broad cross-section of stakeholders – from family members, clinicians, the public, and policy makers, to the young women themselves, and ACE enables us to do so. To this end, we share our experience with others, imperfect as it is, with the hope that it will encourage others to continue this journey with us.

Download Beyond ACEs Brief

TNCF provides resources and tools that support the provision of quality services and the rights of girls and young women. Visit our Publications page for more information.