Anna, Age Eight
is the nation’s blueprint for ending the epidemic of childhood trauma.

Praise for ANNA, AGE EIGHT

“Please read this book and tell your friends, neighbors and elected officials to do the same.”
—Alan Webber, Mayor of Santa Fe, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and founder of One New Mexico

“This groundbreaking piece of work combines a well-researched explanation of childhood trauma, an emotionally compelling ethical appeal, and an inspirational community-based call to action.”
—Richard Bailey, PhD, President, Northern New Mexico College

“Anna, Age Eight is a book that must be read by all those who care about families and those that would like to see a more efficient and effective use of public dollars.”
—Marisol Atkins, Former Deputy Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Child, Youth and Families Department

“Anna, Age Eight was inspiring. It's now our city's blueprint for ensuring all our children are safe from adverse childhood experiences and family trauma.”
—Rosemary Conder, Executive Director, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Ohio Valley, Inc, Kentucky

“Anna, Age Eight will provide a framework for using data, technology and community empowerment, to create a city where all children are nurtured and all families have the support they need to thrive.”
—Kasandra Gandara, City of Las Cruces Council member, New Mexico

“The book serves as a guide for city leaders and caring residents who wish to design a city that works for its most vulnerable families.”
—David Karsmer, DKinnovations Co., Santa Fe


book cover


Become A Trauma-Free And Family-Friendly City

Anna, Age Eight is the nation’s blueprint for creating safe childhoods—providing a data-driven and collaborative strategy for preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and family trauma. The book promotes public and private sector collaboration, guiding mayors, school boards, state lawmakers, business leaders and a solution-seeking public.

Read Anna, Age Eight and discover how your city can harness the power of data and technology to end an epidemic of childhood and family trauma. Design a city system that ensures safe childhoods and resilient families—what we refer to as Family-Friendly City-version 2.0.


In a distracted society, numb to violence, how can adults end an epidemic of childhood trauma?


An Urgent Call to Action

If one in eight children suffered from an unknown but debilitating virus, outrage would boil, editorials would harangue public officials, and agencies would mobilize to counter the threat. The CDC would scramble resources to develop and share effective preventive measures while searching for a safe, effective vaccine. We would fight the scourge as we would a war of national survival, reclaiming our children from the grip of this terrible, devastating disease.

With research showing child maltreatment is substantiated for one in eight children in the US, it's clear Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), a broader category of experiences than just maltreatment, are at an epidemic scale in our society.1


Costly Consequences for All of Us

Slowly and silently, these emotionally and physically abusive experiences can have long-term and life-long consequences depending on the survivor's and family's access to treatment. It’s important to note that most forms of ACEs are hidden from protective services yet the consequences of untreated childhood trauma can destroy essential relationships, fill our jails, diminish our workforce, inhibit learning in our schools, overtax our emergency rooms, and encourage the sort of hopelessness that drives people to drugs and other self-destructive behaviors. Everyone is harmed, directly or indirectly, as the trauma is passed from generation to generation.

Our nation is in the midst of an epidemic of childhood trauma.


Childhood Trauma: Predictable and Preventible

The book suggests a series of shockingly modest yet strategic reforms, changes that can ensure that the future systems of protection in every community are better at identifying their own shortcomings and fixing them. The book offers a way to address the root causes of childhood trauma. After years of working with child welfare systems across the country to create a data-driven approach to addressing child maltreatment, we provide a blueprint for strengthening systems of care that prevent childhood adversity, neglect and abuse before it happens. The proven strategies proposed have the power to heal families, illustrating how we can all take courageous and compassionate steps toward designing child-friendly, trauma-free communities.


A Blueprint to Use Today

The authors' main thesis, quite simply, is that protecting all our children is entirely possible, but only when we know the scope of the challenges families face. The book provides a detailed, data-driven analysis of the scope of the problem and how to strengthen systems designed to protect our children. The proven strategies proposed have the power to heal families, illustrating how we can all take courageous and compassionate steps toward designing child-friendly, trauma-free communities. Anna, Age Eight is serving as the guide for data-driven ACEs prevention programs—from New Mexico to Kentucky.


Connect with the Authors of ANNA, AGE EIGHT

Katherine Ortega Courtney has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the Texas Christian University, where she studied at the Institute of Behavioral Research. Dr. Courtney worked with the State of New Mexico for eight years, first as the Juvenile Justice Epidemiologist, then as Bureau Chief of the Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau. An advocate for data-informed decision-making, Dr. Courtney championed and co-developed the Child Protective Service’s Data Leaders program, liaising with Casey Family Programs as she oversaw program implementation and the training of the majority of local office managers throughout the state. She currently is the Director of Collective Impact Initiatives with the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Dr. Courtney continues to serve as an advocate for strengthening continuous quality improvement throughout all the sectors that impact children, youth and families.

Dominic Cappello is the co-founder of Safety+Success Communities, a socially-engaged, non-profit strategic planning organization. He has a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Language and Communication from Regis University. He began his work in public service as a health educator in Seattle’s juvenile detention facility. He worked for the New Mexico Department of Health Epidemiology and Response Division and the New Mexico Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau, where he collaborated with Casey Family Programs to co-develop the Data Leaders for Child Welfare program. This training has been implemented with leaders in New York City, Connecticut and New Mexico. Cappello is the creator of the Ten Talks book series on family safety that gained a national audience when he discussed his work on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He advocates for continuous quality improvement and a data-driven and systematic approach to preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through his Resilience Leaders program. Contact Dom@safetyandsuccess.org.


On the Radio

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If you missed co-authors Katherine and Dominic on the radio discussing Anna, Age Eight, and solutions to some of New Mexico's biggest challenges, you can listen to these important conversations online: Show 1, Show 2, Show 3, Show 4, Show 5.

Getting Your Questions Answered

For more information about Anna, Age Eight, the Data Leaders for Child Welfare program and the Resilience Leaders-ACEs Prevention program, please contact the authors Dominic Cappello dom@safetyandsuccess.org or Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD in Santa Fe at kcourtney@santafecf.org.


Now Available as a FREE Download

To address a public crisis, we're putting Anna, Age Eight in the hands of everyone—free of charge.

Anna, Age Eight is informing how congresspeople, state senators and representatives, mayors, city council members, county commissioners, school boards, university staff, child welfare directors and advocates for families and children can implement the data-driven prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and family trauma.

We have been asked by government leaders to make Anna, Age Eight as widely available as possible to the public. Our response was to create a version you may download free-of-charge. You may also support our non-profit organization by purchasing Anna, Age Eight on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version.

We are gratified to know that Anna, Age Eight is serving as a blueprint for cities seeking to end the costly epidemic of child abuse and neglect. We look forward to supporting your vital local work.



Book clubs

Have a book club? Use our Book Club Discussion page to guide your club's discussions on each chapter.




More Praise for Anna, Age Eight

The book asks that we educate ourselves about this hidden epidemic of trauma and mobilize our cities and towns around evidence-based solutions.
—Pepper Schwartz, PhD, Author and Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington

Should be required reading for every teacher, every parent, and every public leader from health official to mayor—because this epidemic of trauma is real and must be taken seriously.
—Yarrott Benz, teacher and author of The Bone Bridge: A Brother's Story, IPPY gold medal winner

The authors offer common sense solutions including systemic change and a plea for attention on the part of citizens and lawmakers to "give a damn."
—Pamela Etre-Perez, Ph.D., Former Director of Adult Education, State of New Mexico; Former Dean of the School of Adult Education, Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque, NM

It's a powerful little paperback that tells it like it is, dares us to imagine a better future for our children and delivers a way to get there. And when all is said and done, it honors the life and death of a little girl named Anna.
—Xenia Becher, MSW, Syracuse, NY

The recommendations are actionable, at whatever level of public engagement you begin from. Please give Anna, Age Eight to your pastor, your city council person, teacher friends, and your pediatrician.
— Robin Swift, Public Health Expert, New Mexico

For media inquiries, please see our Press Kit page.


“When we all commit to eradicating adverse childhood experiences, we’ll end this never-ending trauma.”
Anna, Age Eight



Learn about:

The Anna, Age Eight Institute
for the Data-Driven Prevention of
Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment

Serving all New Mexico
A proposal by Northern New Mexico College