In February 2020, the EIF published a comprehensive review of the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) evidence entitled Adverse childhood experiences: What we know, what we don’t know and what should happen next. The report observed that while ACEs pose a clear threat to children’s wellbeing at all points of their development, many popular claims about ACEs are not supported by the best evidence, and many ACE-related practices have yet to be rigorously evaluated. The report concluded with a set of nine recommendations about how the ACEs evidence could be improved and outlined what an evidence-informed public health response to ACEs might be.
While the review and its conclusions were positively received more work was needed to understand how its key messages were perceived and if they were influencing their work with families and children. To do this, EIF commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a Delphi-style consensus-building exercise to better understand views about the research evidence, and how they think it might be best taken forward to improve policy and practice.
The study was successful in engaging 70 practitioners, policymakers, academics and children’s charities who have a shared interest in improving children’s lives. These individuals achieved consensus on 41 statements regarding the quality of the ACEs evidence and how it might best be used to help vulnerable children.
The report provides a high-level overview of the findings of this exercise, highlighting the areas where consensus was achieved and how this consensus aligns with the most robust research evidence.
Read the full report here.