New Report Highlights Prevalence of Toxic Stress Among Florida Kids

Economic hardship, divorce, alcohol and incarceration are the most common adverse childhood experiences among Florida’s children according to a new Child Trends report. Most alarming, Florida ranks in the top quartile of states for prevalence of children impacted by poverty (30%).

Child Trends notes the growing focus on adverse childhood experiences has had positive impacts on knowledge and understanding—particularly the importance of nurturing child-caregiver relationships and their ability to buffer children from the long-term consequences of toxic stress.

Building economic well-being and supporting positive parent-child relationships are critical foci of the Florida MIECHV program. Local implementation sites are tracking the impact of home visiting services on family self-sufficiency and home visitors are working with parents and other caregivers to strengthen their parenting skills and understanding of child development using evidence-based tools and strategies.

“Good parenting (or, when that’s lacking, sensitive care from another adult) can protect children from the harms they might otherwise incur from overwhelming stress, or even, in some cases, can help undo the effects of prior trauma. Relationships matter,” concludes Child Trends.

For more information on childhood trauma and strategies for addressing it, check out the presentations at Florida’s 2014 Many Paths Conference.