Tennessee Legislators Attend Two-Day Learning Sessions with ACE Experts and Advocates

From left to right: Sen. Mark Norris, Sen. Ferrell Haile, and Rep. Antonio Parkinson during a discussion on the prevalence and impact of ACEs in Memphis.

Earlier this month, the ACE Awareness Foundation hosted a group of Tennessee legislators and other stakeholders interested in learning more about the approaches and partnerships central to efforts to address chronic trauma in Memphis. Tennessee Senators Ferrell Haile, Ed Jackson, Mark Norris, and Reginald Tate as well as Representative Antonio Parkinson attended the sessions, along with state leaders in health, human services, and adverse childhood experience (ACE) advocacy. On the first day, after a welcome from Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and ACEAF Executive Director Renée Wilson-Simmons, the group toured the Universal Parenting Places (UPPs) at Knowledge Quest, Perea Preschool, Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, and Christ Community Health Services, hearing directly from UPP staff and some of the parents who have benefitted from the center’s judgment-free services and programs.

Participants visiting the UPP at Christ Community Health Services listen to Site Director Tara Seay as she gives an overview of the program and therapies offered.

The following day focused on partnerships and investments central to making Tennessee one of the most trauma-informed states in the nation. Building Strong Brains Tennessee grantees presented implementation updates on Innovation Projects to prevent adverse childhood experiences and mitigate their impact on children and families who have been affected.

Additional photos from the two-day ACE Awareness Foundation learning sessions are available online.


Learn More about the ACE Awareness Foundation’s Approach to Mitigating ACEs

Since its founding in 2015, the ACE Awareness Foundation has emerged as a leader of cutting-edge thinking and action to combat the generational effects of ACEs. Our work to increase public understanding of ACEs and local capacity for offering effective, evidence-based interventions is already helping to improve parenting and promote healthy child development in Shelby County, and the foundation is positioned to expand the preventative solutions it has pioneered across the state. Our new video, Reclaiming Joy, provides an overview of our efforts to help Memphis health and mental health care providers, families, and advocates address — and in some cases, reverse — the harmful impact of toxic stress. The 12-minute video is now available on our website.









The Importance of Mother-Child Bonding Time: Low-Income Mothers and New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Program


Although paid family leave has been associated with greater family economic security, higher employment rates, and better maternal and child health overall, New Jersey is one of only three states that offer Family Leave Insurance (FLI), a program that enables parents to leave their job to bond with and care for their new child with some financial support. 

Recovering from childbirth while trying to balance workplace demands and stretch financial resources creates multiple stressors in the lives of low-income families. Multiple studies have shown that returning to work early in the postpartum period — a common experience for mothers without access to paid leave — has been linked to reductions in infant immunizations, well-baby care, and breastfeeding, as well as a greater risk of postpartum mood disorders.

In an article co-authored with colleagues from the National Center for Children in Poverty, ACEAF Executive Director Renée Wilson-Simmons describes the results of a qualitative study that explored low-income mothers’ experiences balancing work and a new child with or without New Jersey FLI, identified barriers to FLI use, and suggested ways to improve the program. The article, published in Community, Work & Family, is available for reprint or purchase at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13668803.2018.1501551.


Mark Your Calendars

September 8, 8:30 am-3:30 pm Central
A Trauma-Informed City: ACEs Summit, Memphis

The House Memphis Church and Rotary-Family Youth Initiative are sponsoring a summit at The House Memphis Church, 3683 Austin Peay Highway, to better educate the 7Ps of Memphis—parents, pastors, principals, police, politicians, proprietors, and partners—about ACEs. The summit will include ACE and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention trainings as well as a luncheon panel discussion. At least 300 stakeholders are being sought to attend the event, and the first 50 to sign in the day of event for the Stewards of Children training will be accepted for the afternoon training session. Partners for the event include the University of Memphis School of Social Work and Memphis Child Advocacy Center. For more information about this free event, contact Pastor Charlie Caswell Jr. at  ccaswell@thehousememphis@.com or 901-236-4604.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-trauma-informed-city-ace-summit-tickets-48339167752#tickets


September 11, 12:30-2:00 pm Central
Webinar on Trauma and the Opioid Epidemic

Early next month, the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) will host a webinar on the connection between addiction and trauma in the lives of women presented by Stephanie Covington, PhD, a clinician, author, organizational consultant, and lecturer recognized for her pioneering work in the area of women’s issues. Dr. Carole Warshaw of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health will facilitate a discussion on the differences between trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and gender-responsive services, and review research highlighting the importance of women-centered addiction treatment. The webinar is designed to help service providers consider what addressing trauma actually means in the context of addiction treatment and, more specifically, what is involved in providing trauma-informed addiction treatment for women. The webinar is part of an ongoing series on trauma, opioids, and domestic violence. For registration information: