Child Maltreatment—a Significant but Preventable Public Health Problem

Print This Post

Children are shaped by their earliest experiences and relationships. Creating safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are necessary to support early brain development and promote lifelong learning and success. Conversely, negative early experiences, called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), cause high levels of stress, called toxic stress. Frequent and prolonged levels of toxic stress can dramatically change how the brain develops. ACEs are linked to a variety of negative health and social outcomes in adults, can be generational, and are costly to all society.

Child maltreatment is a significant public health problem, but it is also a preventable one.

Essentials for Childhood, a strategic framework developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presents a roadmap to align and support Georgia stakeholders committed to the positive development of children and families, and specifically to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The steps suggested in the Essentials for Childhood Framework help create neighborhoods, communities, and a nation in which every child can thrive.

Georgia Essentials for Childhood is part of a comprehensive effort for child abuse and neglect prevention across several states using the Essentials for Childhood framework to build resilient communities, address and prevent adverse childhood experiences, improve community environments, and reduce and destigmatize trauma.

Georgia Essentials views this work through an intentional equity and racial justice lens. Children’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, or neighborhood should not predict their future success and well-being.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (GaDPH), Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services’ Prevention and Community Support Section, and Georgia Essentials for Childhood prepared a fact sheet summarizing the 2016 and 2018 ACEs module of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The ACE module is being collected again in 2020 through the GaDPH’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The data indicates that three in five Georgians have at least one ACE and Georgia’s exposure to ACEs is consistent with historical and national averages.

Learn more about ACEs or Georgia’s data at or


Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director

Follow us on Twitter: @gafcpnews

Connect with us on Facebook.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) is a public-private partnership created by the State of Georgia and investors from the private sector to assist communities in addressing the serious challenges facing children and families. GaFCP also serves as a resource to state agencies across Georgia that work to improve the conditions of children and families. Georgia KIDS COUNT provides policymakers and citizens with current data they need to make informed decisions regarding priorities, services, and resources that impact Georgia’s children, youth, families, and communities.