Prevention Strategies

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have lasting, negative effects on health, wellbeing, and opportunity. ACEs and their associated harms are preventable. Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent ACEs and help all children reach their full health and life potential.

Different types of violence are connected and often share the same root causes. ACEs are connected to other forms of violence through shared risk and protective factors. To prevent ACEs, we must understand and address these risk and protective factors.

CDC has developed a resource, Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Resource for Action [4 MB, 38 Pages], to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent ACEs. It features six strategies from the CDC Resources for Action, formerly known as “Technical Packages to Prevent Violence.” The strategies and their corresponding approaches are listed in the table below.

Preventing ACEs

Preventing ACEs

Strategy Approach
Strengthen economic supports to families
  • Strengthening household financial security
  • Family-friendly work policies
Promote social norms that protect against violence and adversity
  • Public education campaigns
  • Legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment
  • Bystander approaches
  • Men and boys as allies in prevention
Ensure a strong start for children
  • Early childhood home visitation
  • High-quality childcare
  • Preschool enrichment with family engagement
Teach skills
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Safe dating and healthy relationship skill programs
  • Parenting skills and family relationship approaches
Connect youth to caring adults and activities
  • Mentoring programs
  • After-school programs
Intervene to lessen immediate and long-term harms
  • Enhanced primary care
  • Victim-centered services
  • Treatment to lessen the harms of ACEs
  • Treatment to prevent problem behavior and future involvement in violence
  • Family-centered treatment for substance use disorders


See Adverse Childhood Experiences Resources for publications, data sources, and other resources about preventing adverse childhood experiences. Also see Policy Approaches to Preventing ACEs

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