The Solution: 100% Community Initiative We're implementing the nation’s first data-driven, cross-sector and technology-empowered strategy on a county level to strengthen ten vital services shown to ensure trauma-free and thriving children, students and families.
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
Who was Anna?
Anna is featured in the book Anna, Age Eight by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello. Anna is a fictional character based on very real children in the child welfare system. Anna’s story inspired the creation of the Anna, Age Eight Institute.
Who is Eric?
Fourteen-year-old Eric is featured in 100% Community: Ensuring trauma-free and thriving children, students and families, the second book by Dr. Ortega Courtney and Cappello. Eric is also a fictional character based on a real teen. Eric’s story focuses on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and social adversity that can occur in any family, not just those involved with child protective services.
What’s working well in our communities?
Decades of hard work by committed stakeholders have created programs and services to support families. We must celebrate our accomplishments. We must also be willing to look at where our systems of care fall short.
What’s gone wrong?
The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) Study, published in 1998, detailed the magnitude of adversity and the emotional and physical costs to children, youth and adults through a lifetime. We have 1-in-8 children being substantiated as maltreated by age 18 in the US and there are classrooms where a third to three quarters of students endure three or more ACEs. All counties have much work to do to ensure safe and successful childhoods and support struggling parents and caregiving grandparents.
Some families thrive. Others are traumatized.
As we scan our communities, we can see how some families thrive. We can also see the signs of ACEs and trauma in families of all socio-economic levels. Data from public health and schools can illustrate how many of our families are struggling.
ACEs start early
Adversity, in its many forms, can start early so we need specific interventions for infants, children, youth and parents.
What are the ten ACEs?
There are different versions of the ACEs survey. Here we present the original ten forms of adversity that exist on the ACEs survey that we discuss in our book, Anna, Age Eight. The more ACEs we experience, the more at-risk we may be for physical and emotional health challenges
Our students endure ACEs and trauma
Each school and community is different, yet all educators will have classrooms where students have endured forms of abuse and neglect. Without support, these students may become marginalized as they think more about what awaits them at home, rather than doing their math homework. Students may hide their struggles at home for a variety of reasons including fear and shame.
Untreated trauma on campus
Our vocational schools, colleges and universities all have a percentage of the student and faculty population enduring untreated trauma. Trauma can lead to a multitude of consequences including poor academic achievement and failure to graduate.
Untreated trauma in the workplace
Trauma can lead to substance misuse, emotional health challenges and family disruption. These problems can lead to absenteeism or workers arriving unprepared to function. This makes ACEs a workplace issue.
Trauma and Substance Misuse: What’s the connection?
Trauma may lead to people seeking an escape from difficult feelings. Alcohol, opioids and other substances may be used to get temporary relief from untreated trauma. An epidemic of trauma leads to an epidemic of substance misuse.
Trauma impacts our urban and rural communities
Our most vulnerable populations face a variety of hardships, including trauma and untreated mental health challenges. For some, the street is where they end up.
Trauma is an economic development issue
Traumatized communities may result in unemployment, underemployment and downtowns that become abandoned. In traumatized communities, local leadership may be unable to create an economic engine for a small city or town.
What is social adversity?
While a home may be safe from ACEs and trauma, family members may step outside into a harsh community environment with few stable supports. Facing both ACEs and social adversity, students face a hostile world every day.
Social adversity means lack of support
Decades of research describe the importance of services shown to strengthen families and communities. Social adversity means these services are difficult, if not impossible, to access.
From “Trauma-informed” to “Preventing Trauma Before it Occurs”
Awareness of trauma and being informed is a vital first step. We now know how to take those critical next steps to prevent ACEs, trauma and social adversity. The data-driven, cross-sector and tech-empowered strategies for mobilizing a county around solutions are in the book 100% Community.
The social determinants of health can influence a person’s success
The social determinants of health is a field of study that describes how the community environments we grow up in have a profound impact on our physical and emotional health, as well as our chances for a quality education and productive work life. Our 100% Community initiative is guided by decades of research focused on the social determinants of health. We are committed to ensuring that 100% of county residents have access to all ten vital family services.
Can families survive the week?
In each county, we can assess the degree of access parents and youth have to the services that get us through the day. We also learn the reason why survival services may be difficult to reach.
From surviving to thriving
In each county, we also focus on those services shown to strengthen families. We assess to what degree parents and youth have access to the services that empower families. The long term work of the 100% Community Initiative is moving our most vulnerable families from surviving to thriving and self-sufficiency.
We work collectively in a county to achieve measurable and meaningful impact
In each county, we work with community organizers and action teams (each one focused on our surviving and thriving services) to set and meet goals. The collective impact model guides the 100% Community initiative.
Our elected leaders are key partners
In each county, the 100% Community initiative works in partnership with all elected leaders and stakeholders. This includes working in alignment with all county, city, school and higher education task forces, committees and research groups focused on our ten sectors and overall county health.
Our county capacity-building in a data-driven process
All our action teams and related activities focus on identifying gaps in services and improving the quality and accessibility of all surviving and thriving services. We are in a constant process of assessing, planning, acting and evaluating progress.
A Call to Action
Anna, Age Eight has served as the catalyst for action in many counties. The book is available to download free-of-charge at www.AnnaAgeEight.org.
Your Plan of Action
100% Community is the first book of its kind in the nation, providing a data-driven strategy to prevent and treat ACEs, trauma and social adversity. It is currently in the advance review copy phase, being reviewed by stakeholders across the state. It will be available to download free-of-charge in spring 2020.
To learn more about the Anna, Age Eight Institute and our 100% Community initiative launched in New Mexico, please contact the institute: info@AnnaAgeEight.org or visit www.AnnaAgeEight.org
What’s the “big picture” regarding prevention?
“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push—in just the right place—it can be tipped.”
—Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point
“Everything on this earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and everyone has a mission.”
—Mourning Dove (Humishuma), author of Coyote Stories
“Si, se puede.” (Spanish for “Yes, it’s possible”)
—Delores Huerta, activist
“We will one day celebrate the end of unending trauma, and you can share with the children in your life your role in such a noble accomplishment.”
—Anna, Age Eight by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello
It’s taken the nation two decades to develop a strategy for each state to finally address childhood trauma with a systemic and data-driven strategy. As discussed on our PROBLEM page, it’s been twenty years since the public was introduced to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through the ACEs Study in 1998. We learned that our children may endure a variety of adverse experiences including physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and living in households where parents are misusing substances, are engaged in domestic violence, and have mental health challenges. The data reveal that ACEs fly under the radar of child welfare and our schools, impacting our emotional and physical health, as well as our capacity to learn.
We have launched the first-of-its-kind strategy to prevent adverse childhood experiences called the 100% Community. But before we guide you through the process of 100% Community, we wish to reinforce why a data-driven, cross-sector and technology-empowered approach to ACEs prevention is urgently needed.
ACEs, which can have long-term or life-long impact, can:
- lead to substance misuse impacting school, work and family life
- lead to costly negative medical and emotional health consequences
- negatively impact achievement in school and higher education
- diminish work productivity and the workplace environment
- overwhelm the child welfare, law enforcement and judicial systems
What’s the cost benefit of prevention?
While we believe preventing trauma is a social justice issue, as well as one that’s is motivated by compassion for all families, we understand that the financial costs associated with ACEs are significant in the public and private sectors.
The costs of ACEs, trauma and social adversity keep climbing. Here’s our latest list of the costly county and state services associated with childhood trauma for every elected official, nonprofit organization and foundation director to review.
- Emergency services
- ER visits to hospitals and urgent care centers
- Domestic violence shelters and programs
- Sexual assault programs
- Child Welfare including Child Protective Services and Juvenile Justice
- The law enforcement system
- The judicial system
- The thousands of nonprofit organizations staff and programs that serve to keep people from falling through the cracks
- The hundreds of foundations that are staffed to spend millions on projects focused on health, safety, education and culture.
As for our workforces, employees who are physically and emotionally healthy will perform far more effectively than those burdened with untreated emotional health challenges and family problems related to ACEs, trauma and substance misuse.
The positive economic impact of addressing ACEs by creating family-focused and child centered communities is one the institute is committed to. Each county in New Mexico is positioned to implement a data-driven, cross-sector and systemic strategy in order to prevent ACEs and childhood trauma – along with the high rates of substance misuse, poor school performance, unsafe families and lack of economic stability that accompany it.
Trauma passed down (or prevented) generation after generation
ACEs, including all forms of neglect and abuse, are behaviors that can be passed from parent to child. The cycle of childhood trauma due to ACEs can be stopped with a local system of parent supports and health and safety services.Click above to learn their stories.*
What’s the hypothesis guiding prevention?
Our hypothesis guiding the 100% Community initiative is informed by a wealth of research focused on the social determinants of health, health equity, health and education disparities and historical trauma.
If we ensure that all our families have access to five survival services and five services that support thriving, we will decrease ACEs, trauma, substance misuse, violence, school dropout rates and underachievement; we will increase self-sufficient family households, higher educational achievement, job readiness and healthy residents of all ages.
The 100% Community initiative is collaborative and works in alignment with all local programs that impact health, safety, learning and economic development.
The 100% Community initiative is designed to bring all county leaders and stakeholders together, in ten key family serving sectors we refer to as “surviving services” and “thriving services” shown to strengthen families:
By working on a county scale with buy-in from local elected leadership and stakeholders, a locality can build the capacity to achieve groundbreaking results, reducing ACEs and trauma while raising the quality of family, community, educational and economic life for all residents.
We’re preventing social adversity in the classroom and community
Students can have a well-functioning family and be growing up without ACEs or low ACEs scores. They may still confront many forms of adversity that impact their capacity to learn and be safe from community violence. The 100% Community initiative is designed to prevent both ACEs and social adversity, ensuring trauma-free and thriving children, students and families.*
What’s the 100% Community Initiative and steps to implementation?
We provide to you our step-by-step process, with the understanding that each county may wish to customize the initiative to meet the needs of a unique county. You may be wondering, “Is my county ready for the 100% Community initiative?”
We always wonder about the capacity to take on the initiative after we talk on the phone with a potential county champion. Here is one inspiring story we now refer to as “the San Miguel County model.”
In one county a medical clinic director called us at the Institute. He asked what the first step was for launching the 100% Community initiative. We said reading the 500-plus page book 100% Community was a good start.
Within a week he has read it and emailed, “What’s next?”
We responded, “Can you identify two community organizers and ten action team leaders all willing to read the book and commit eight hours a week of volunteer time to the initiative?”
Two weeks later an email arrives from this highly-energized champion with bios of the 12 person team. Again, he asked, “Now what?”
We replied, “How about we schedule our 100% Readiness Workshop for your team?”
Yes, other counties may evolve a bit more slowly than the one guided by one highly movitaved champion who has full community support and that’s perfectly understandable. What matters most is that we start a dialogue about the goals of the initiative and include as many potential change agents as possible. From there, everything falls into place.
10 Steps to a successful 100% Community initiative
We provide to you our step-by-step process, with the understanding that each county may wish to customize the process to meet the needs of a unique county and all the cities, towns and communities within it.
Step 1: Creating the Backbone
The Anna, Age Eight Institute staff meet with a core team of local champions who wish to explore bringing the 100% Community initiative to their county. Our 100% Community initiative is guided by the following five features of collective impact: A common vision and agenda; collaboration and mutually-reinforcing activities; continuous communication and transparency; shared measurement and use of data; and backbone support in the form of a local agency.
Step 2: Sponsoring Community Forums
We support the community organizers in sponsoring community forums across the county to gather feedback from those working in our 10 “surviving” and “thriving” sectors, which includes higher education and socially-engaged youth, students and adults.
Step 3: Convening Leaders in 10 Sectors
Community organizers convene a series of meetings of agency leaders from all 10 “surviving” and “thriving” sectors to assess their interest in the 100% Community initiative and their capacity to devote time to it. The goal of the 100% Community action teams is to strengthen services so that 100% of residents have access to them in a timely manner.
Step 4: Conduct the Resilient Community Experience Survey
This county-wide survey assesses to what degree local parents and youth have access to the 10 key “surviving” and “thriving” service areas/programs. These survey results will identify gaps in services in specific areas of the county and why there are challenges accessing services. It will also show where the county is doing an exceptional job of meeting the needs of families.
Step 5: Share the results of the Resilient Community Experience Survey at a Community Forum
With a shared understanding of survey results among the 100% Community initiative participants and county leaders, the real work of the initiative begins. Survey results from each of the 10 sectors can now guide the action teams in addressing gaps.
Step 6: Recruit for and launch the 100% Community Course
The community organizers and action team members take the 100% Community course, which includes classroom instruction, coaching and web-based lessons that are customized to meet local needs. The course provides an in depth understanding of the data-driven process of continuous quality improvement (CQI) focused on four phases: assessment, planning, action and evaluation.
Step 7: Planning
Once action teams have the survey data and have been through the 100% community training, they are ready for the planning stage. Teams will review the research for each sector, much of which is outlined in 100% Community and on our website called the 100% Innovation Center.
Step 8: Implement and Support all 100% Community Projects/Innovations
Community organizers support the 100% Community projects designed by course graduates, who are now action team members. These will be projects in all 10 sectors with varying timelines, from a few months to years.
Step 9: Sponsor a 100% Community Summit on Thriving Childhoods
Community organizers invite all county leaders, stakeholders and the public to an event to share how 100% Community projects are reducing gaps in services and other accomplishments. This yearly event provides an opportunity for community dialogue, brainstorming and reflection.
Step 10: Celebrate small successes while working on big ones
Community organizers convene all action team members to acknowledge all the work they have done, sharing the successes and challenges. This initiative is all about showcasing innovation that increases the health, safety and educational opportunities of all county residents.
The long-term measurable and meaningful goal
Over the years, with full support of the Anna, Age Eight Institute, the 100% Community initiative will become part of local government, institutionalized like the departments of police, fire and parks. Ideally, this will be in the form of a “City Department of Family Resilience,” working in collaboration with all county, school and higher education entities.
Who needs to be at the table and why?
Preventing and treating trauma associated with ACEs and social adversity is nothing less than monumental. Quite simply, it’s never been done before on a countywide scale. This is why the 100% Community initiative brings people from the public and private sector together to customize a process of capacity-building. Your local initiative will be guided by community organizers and action team leaders who are in communication with all those county residents committed to health, safety and learning. This includes residents engaged with task forces, committees and research groups initiated by county commissioners, mayors and city council members, school board members, and higher education leadership.
Who are the innovators within a 100% Community initiative
In our meetings, we have participants from a wide range of offices, organizations, institutions and agencies. Success comes from engaging a diverse group of innovators and change agents from governmental, nongovernmental and private sector realms..*
Actions Teams take on many innovations
The 100% Community initiative supports ten actions teams in developing innovations to increase the quality and accessibility of ten vital surviving and thriving services. The initiative is cross-sector and is enriched by a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.*
What does a trauma-free and thriving county look like?
The 100% Community initiative is designed to be a blueprint for taking a county from a place of trauma and social adversity to one of resilience and opportunity. Ultimately, our work in ten sectors leads to buy-in from city governments, county governments and school government so that elected leaders can quickly see the cost-benefit of institutionalizing our ten “surviving and thriving” community services so that every family has access to the resources that give them the best chance to succeed.
“What does institutionalizing all this look like?” is a question we get a lot. The answer is: a future where any youth, student, mom, dad or grandparent can visit the website of the city or county in which they live to find a Department of Family Resilience providing links to user-friendly services in their zip code. These are all services that are user-friendly for families of all socio-economic levels. This department will assess what level of access families have to services every year and support ongoing innovation to reduce all disparities. It will ensure that all ten sectors are able to meet the needs of 100% of their residents.
What’s the role of technology in ending an epidemic?
In our rush to connect everyone on the planet, we forgot to encourage people to use technology to make their cities fairer, kinder and to instill a generosity of spirit.
Revolutionary advances in the promotion of idea-sharing, health promotion and the prevention of ACEs, and the evaluation of new child-affirming strategies depend on technology. As discussed in Anna, Age Eight, chapter 8: “There’s an app for that (maybe): The promise and perils of technology,” we have to step back to take a realistic look at how tech could or should help us create healthier communities where we’re all in, leaving no one out. The tech and software companies make everything look so smooth, efficient and effortless with their products, but that’s because next to ending and epidemic of childhood trauma, their job is really easy.
With the 100% Community initiative, we focus on how technology can transform and vastly improve our capacity-building work in the public sector, learning very valuable lessons from the private sector’s embrace of software, tech and systems thinking.
In some ways, 100% Community is an experiment to explore how we use technology to launch and maintain a movement in New Mexico that serves as a model for the nation. We think you will find our tech tools very useful in engaging, educating and empowering all residents.
- The data-driven prevention strategies are detailed in the books Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment and 100% Community: Ensuring trauma-free and thriving children, students and families by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello. Visit BOOK to learn more.
- We provide all the tools you need for the 100% Community initiative. The process detailed above can be customized to meet the unique needs and capacity of county residents. To see our progress in New Mexico and learn how one champion can start a groundbreaking local initiative, visit COUNTIES.
- For more information on the ACEs survey, research, prevention strategies, and school, campus and workplace policies on ACEs, please visit CONTACT.