During the just-completed legislative session, Illinois lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a resolution designed to ensure state government agencies consider the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) when developing policies.
The resolution was proposed by the Illinois Education Association (IEA), which has made awareness of ACEs a priority for the 135,000-member education employee organization. The Partnership for Resilience is IEA’s partner in the ACEs initiative.
“Our members know – whether they are teaching or driving children on a bus – that they encounter students daily whose basic emotional needs are not being met. When we provide our members with strategies and tools needed to reach those students and make a difference in their lives, it means the world to the student, to our member and to us. The more people know about ACEs, the more help can be available,” said former IEA President Cinda Klickna.
IEA’s ACEs work was recognized at the National Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Award dinner where IEA received the Rosena J. Willis Memorial Award. (Watch a video about IEA’s ACEs work)
“The work IEA is doing is the most impactful professional development I’ve ever witnessed. Our members are asking for more because understanding the impact of ACEs on a student’s ability to learn is unlocking educational barriers,” Klickna said.
The resolution calls for the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Illinois Department of Corrections “to become informed regarding well-documented detrimental short-term and long-term impacts to children and adults from serious traumatic childhood experiences.”
Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), who sponsored the resolution in the Senate, predicts there will be heightened awareness of ACEs, which have an impact on the ability of a child to learn.
“Too many schoolchildren come from homes that are in turmoil due to divorce, adult drug or alcohol addiction, or abuse and neglect. They arrive at school angry or depressed and in no condition to learn. Unless the cause is noted, and the barrier to learning is removed, the child’s entire future could be impacted by ACEs.”
House sponsor Rep. Al Riley (D-Chicago) said the resolution reflects the potential lifelong detrimental impact of ACEs.
“Scientific studies show children whose ACEs are not detected or treated, are more likely to experience addiction, depression, adolescent pregnancy and chronic unemployment. The IEA’s work, educating legislators like myself on ACEs, is extremely important. This resolution is a step toward delivering help for children with ACEs.”
The Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is composed of elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty and staff, educational support professionals, retired educators and college students preparing to become teachers. IEA is an affiliate of the National Education Association, an organization of 3.2 million school employees, working to make our good public schools even better for all students.
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