Spotlight on ACEs: PBS’s Invisible Scars

Boy and girl from back, looking trough the window.

At Children’s Friend, we focus on preventing and treating Adverse Childhood Experiences – or ACEs – with the kids and families we serve.  ACEs are traumatic events witnessed or experienced in childhood, such as poverty, exposure to domestic violence, or family members’ incarceration.  ACEs aren’t just painful in the moment; they can cause serious mental and physical health challenges over a lifetime.  ACEs are more prevalent in communities impacted by disinvestment of resources, such as communities of color.

The PBS News Hour recently released an excellent three-part series on ACEs called “Invisible Scars: America’s Childhood Trauma Crisis.”  The series talks about the science of trauma, reports on ACEs in rural Montana and Chicago’s West Side, and shares what can be done to prevent and treat ACEs.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated ACEs in RI – we all must learn about ACEs so we can come together and heal.

Part 1:  Childhood trauma impacts millions of Americans, and it’s having devastating consequences (LINK:

Part 2: Breaking the cycle of childhood trauma in rural Montana (LINK:

Part 3: The overwhelming impact of childhood trauma on Chicago’s West Side (LINK:


Robert Hagberg

Chief of Strategy