KIDS COUNT factbook 2006-2007
Part One: The Twelve Benchmarks
Oklahoma's Children and Youth—How are they doing?
Part Two: Oklahoma Kids Count Factbook Focus Section
Adverse Childhood Experience
Part One: The Twelve Benchmarks
Each year, through the Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy asks how the children of our state are doing. The same child well-being indicators are documented each year and compared to previous years. Indicators are presented at a state level and for each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
The Good News. This year, for the state, the same eight indicators which improved in recent years report further improvement.
- Births to Young Teens (ages15-17)
- Births to Older Teens (ages 18 & 19)
- Births to Teens (ages 15-19)
- High School Dropouts
- Juvenile Violent Crime Arrests
- Infant Mortality (under age 1)
- Child Death (ages 1-14)
- Teen Deaths (ages 15-19)
- Child and Teen Death (ages 1-19)
The Bad News. Entrenched problems continue to resist improvement. This year, for the state, the same three indicators worsened.
- Low Birthweight Infants (less than 5 ½ pounds)
- Very Low Birthweight Infants (less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces)
- Child Abuse and Neglect Confirmations
View Benchmarks Chart
Part Two: Adverse Childhood Experience
Each year the Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook focuses on one area impacting children and adolescents throughout the state. This year the book, as well as a series of five issue briefs, explored the implications of the Adverse Childhood Experience Study in Oklahoma, and provided a basis for discussion among parents and other child advocates, health and social service professionals, policy makers and community leaders.
Overview of the Adverse Childhood Experience Study
The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study is a large-scale, ongoing evaluation of the link between negative childhood experiences to the origins of risk behaviors that evolve into the leading causes of disease and disability in adulthood. The study is a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Preventive Medicine.
The study conducted detailed biomedical and psychological evaluations of over 17,000 middle-aged, middle-class Kaiser patients. The study was designed to simultaneously assess childhood exposure to multiple types of abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, domestic violence, and other types of serious household dysfunction. A scoring system was used to analyze the findings: a person exposed to none of the 10 factors had an ACE Score of 0; a person exposed to any four factors had an ACE Score of 4, and so on. The scores were then compared with the health status of these individuals.
The results were startling. Adverse childhood experiences are vastly more common than generally recognized. Almost three-quarters of the participants reported having experienced at least one ACE. More than one in five reported three or more, indicating that risk factors rarely occur in isolation. For example, many cases of child abuse also involve drug abuse, domestic violence and divorce. The study showed a powerful and compelling correlation between harmful experiences in childhood and adult health status decades later.
Explaining the Connection
The ACE Study provides insight into how our experiences as children evolve into risky behaviors, which, in turn, evolve into disease and death. Child abuse and household trauma leave a child vulnerable, actually disrupting the normal development of the brain. The study suggests that children and adolescents adopt risky behaviors as a means of coping or covering their pain. The more trauma they experience, i.e. the higher their ACE score, the greater the likelihood of adopting multiple risk behaviors, such as alcohol or drug abuse, smoking, overeating and promiscuity.
See more about this year's State Profile: Adverse Childhood Experience