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WRAP works to strengthen survivors with four of the five protective factors that aid in building safe, stable, nurturing families.
What is WRAP doing to prevent adverse childhood experiences and build resilience?
The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. Extensive research on the biology of stress now shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and brain. Such toxic stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan.
ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACES)
Trauma & Resilience
Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy child development. When we are threatened, our bodies prepare us to respond by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones, such as cortisol. When a young child’s stress response systems are activated within an environment of supportive relationships with adults, these physiological effects are buffered and brought back down to baseline. The result is the development of healthy stress response systems. However, if the stress response is extreme and long-lasting, and buffering relationships are unavailable to the child, the result can be damaged, weakened systems and brain architecture, with lifelong repercussions.
Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as well as child witnesses to such trauma may suffer from the long-term effects of toxic stress if their exposure to the trauma is prolonged and/or they lack access to buffering relationships.
When we create healthier environments for all children, we are promoting a healthier and more productive nation. When we invest in children now, we don’t have to pay later, as individuals or society. But this goal of a healthy and productive future is undermined by adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to violence in the home, which weaken brain development in children. Studies have shown that adverse childhood experiences lead to higher health care costs, increased incarceration, lost work time, and poor mental health later in life and have lasting effects on health, addictive behaviors, and earning potential.