2019 ACES Legislation

35 Laws and Resolutions in 20 States

State and territorial policymakers play a critical role in advancing legislation to prevent ACEs and mitigate their negative effects. Legislation that supports policies that foster environments where children and families can thrive is vital to improving the health and well-being of communities across our nation.

In 2011, Washington became the first state to enact legislation that referred to adverse childhood experiences. The legislature declared ACEs to be, “a powerful common determinant of a child’s ability to be successful at school and, as an adult, to be successful at work, to avoid behavioral and chronic physical health conditions, and to build healthy relationships.” The legislation called for development of a nongovernmental private-public initiative focused on coordinating government and philanthropic organizations’ investments in the positive development of children and preventing and mitigating the effects of adverse childhood experiences.

Since then, a range of states and territories has passed ACEs-related legislation. These policies are summarized below.

Alabama (AL)

HB 79 enacted (Act 2019-455), enacted 5/31/19


Summary:  Expands and clarifies membership in the Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and states that the definition of “mental health professional” includes special training regarding child maltreatment and child trauma. 

Arkansas (AR)

HB 1963, ACT No. 1064, enacted 4/16/19


Summary:  Concerns the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research institute and creates a school safety and crisis line and a school safety and crisis line fund in recognition of a high percentage of Arkansas children who have undergone at least one adverse childhood experience. 

Colorado (CO)

SB 10, Act No. 190, enacted 5/10/19


Summary:  Allows grant funds to be used for behavioral health care services, including services to support social-emotional health at recipient schools or through service contracts with community providers. Information on the increased incidence of ACEs is one of several factors to be included in the education provider’s plan.


SB 195, Act. No. 190, enacted 5/16/19


Summary:  Creates the Office of Children and Youth Behavioral Health Policy Coordination in the office of the governor, including a commission and advisory council in the office; provides for the duties, powers, and composition of the commission and the council; and makes an appropriation. The “Legislative Declaration” addresses ACEs as a risk factor for behavioral health diagnoses.


ACE Awareness thanks ACEs Connections for permission to include an edited version of its “Map the Movement” information on our website. 


HB 1017, Act No. 156, enacted 5/10/2019


Summary:  Creates the Colorado K-5 Social and Emotional Health Act, which requires the Department of Education to select a school district to participate in a pilot program that ensures that a school social worker is dedicated to each of grade, kindergarten through 5th. The pilot program begins operation during the 2020-21 school year and repeals in July 2027. Data on the reduction of ACEs could be included.

Georgia (GA)

HR 421, enacted 3/21/10


Summary:  A Resolution creating the Joint Study Committee on Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Health that recognizes the impact on brain development of positive and negative experiences in childhood.

Hawaii (HI)

SCR7, enacted 4/22/2019


HCR 205, enacted 04/22/2019


Summary:  Requests the Department of Human Services, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, work with the family reunification working group and other community stakeholders to develop a plan to establish visitation centers at all state correctional facilities and jails. 

S. 388, Act No. 271, enacted 07/09/2019


Summary:  Requires the Department of Education to evaluate and assess certain vulnerable children and children exhibiting emergent or persistent behavioral issues and assess suspended students at the request of the student’s parent or guardian to identify factors contributing to the student’s suspension and provide services to the student for any social disorder, emotional disorder, or learning difference. 

H. 1417, Act No. 82, enacted 6/7/19


Summary:  Requires the Department of Human Services to use an integrated and multigenerational approach to delivering human services to reduce the incidence of intergenerational poverty and dependence on public benefits. 

Illinois (IL)

SR 99, enacted 3/21/19
Summary:  Urges policy decisions enacted by the state legislature to acknowledge and take into account the principles of early childhood brain development and should consider the concepts of toxic stress, early adversity, and buffering relationships, and note the role of early intervention and investment in early childhood years as important strategies to achieve a lasting foundation for a more prosperous and sustainable state through investing in human capital. 

HR 248, enacted 5/15/19
Summary:  Urges policy decisions enacted by the state legislature to acknowledge and take into account the principles of early childhood brain development, and declares May 15, 2019, as Trauma-Informed Awareness Day. 

S. 1658, Act No. 413, enacted 8/16/2019
Summary:  Amends the school code to provide that, subject to appropriation or private donations, the state board of education shall award grants to school districts to support school safety and security, and provide that grant funds may be used for school security improvements, including professional development, safety-related upgrades to school buildings and equipment (including metal detectors and X-ray machines), and facilities. 

H. 2444, Act No. 471, enacted 8/23/19
Summary:  Amends the Unified Code of Corrections, expands the factors accorded weight in favor of withholding or minimizing a sentence of imprisonment to include whether the defendant is the parent of a child or infant whose well-being will be negatively affected by the parent’s absence, under specified circumstances, or if the defendant serves as the caregiver for a relative who is ill, disabled, or elderly. 

H. 2649, Act No. 480, enacted 8/23/19
Summary:  Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure, creates the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents, provides for membership, and provides that the task force shall review available research, best practices, and effective interventions to formulate recommendations.

Iowa (IA)

House File 766 (see page 8), ACTs Chapter 85, page 4, enacted 5/3/19
Summary:  Appropriates $40,000 to support the Iowa effort to address the needs of children who experience adverse childhood experiences. 

Maine (ME)

SP 287, Act No. 481, enacted 6/27/19
Summary:  Requires the Commissioner of Education to implement a statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program to provide support, guidance, and training to families, early care and education teachers, and providers working in public elementary schools, child care facilities, family child care settings, and Head Start programs serving infants and young children who are experiencing challenging behaviors that put them at risk of learning difficulties and removal from early learning.

H. 851, Act No. 63, enacted 6/10/19
Summary:  Directs the Commissioner of Education to convene a task force, inviting the participation of experts and interested parties, to develop guidance for kindergarten to 12th grade administrators on appropriate training and responses to childhood trauma. 

Montana (MT)

H. B. 604, Act No. 203, enacted 4/26/19
Summary: Directs Department of Public Health and Human Services to create a strategic plan to develop and expand prevention services. 

Nevada (NV)

A 322, Act No. 493, enacted 06/07/2019


Summary:  Makes an appropriation to the Eighth Judicial District to support the operation of juvenile assessment centers

New Hampshire (NH)

HB 111, Act No. 2019-19, enacted 5/15/19

For instructions on how to access the bill’s summary page, visit the General Court of New Hampshire—http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/and follow the instructions. 
Summary:  Establishes a committee to study the effects of the opioid crisis, substance misuse, adverse childhood experiences, and domestic violence as a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome (PTSD) and other mental health and behavioral problems in New Hampshire children and students. 

New Mexico (NM)

SM (Senate Memorial) 115, enacted 3/8/19
Summary:  Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Mexico that the United States and the Navajo Nation be requested to take proactive steps to protect children who are victims of violent crime and to hold the perpetrators accountable

New York (NY)

AB 4268, Act No. 391, enacted 10/23/19


Summary:  Provides for mandating training of direct care workers in adverse childhood experiences.


S. 4990, Act No. 675, enacted 12/16/19


Summary:  Amends the Social Services Law, requiring training with respect to adverse childhood experiences focused on understanding trauma and on nurturing resiliency for day care providers. 

Ohio (OH)

Senate Resolution 79, enacted 3/22/19

Summary:  Recognizes April 2019 as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in the state

Oklahoma (OK)

S. 446, Act No. 286, enacted 5/2/19
Summary:  Requires the State Department of Education and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, in consultation with school superintendents and school boards, to develop training and resources to help school employees recognize and address the mental health needs of students.

Tennessee (TN)

Senate Jt. Res. 166, enacted 4/30/19
Summary:  A Resolution to urge all local education agencies to provide Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training for all teachers.

HB 405, Act No. 421, enacted 5/21/19
Summary:  Requires each local board of education to adopt a policy requiring schools within the LEA to perform an adverse childhood experiences assessment before suspending or expelling a student or requiring a student to attend in-school suspension or an alternative school. 

Texas (TX)

S 11, Act No. 464, enacted 6/6/19

Summary:  Relating to policies, procedures, and measures for school safety and mental health promotion in public schools and the creation of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, and makes an appropriation.


H. 650, Act No. 123, enacted 5/23/19 


Summary: Requires correctional officers to be trained in medical and mental health care issues applicable to pregnant inmates, including the impact on a pregnant inmate and the inmate’s unborn child of the use of restraints, placement in administrative segregation, and invasive searches; a study of visitation policies; and educational programming relating to pregnancy and parenting. Also provides requirements for the housing of pregnant inmates.

Utah (UT)

HB 373, Act No. 446, enacted 3/28/19
Summary:  Amends provisions related to student support and health services and provisions related to the SafeUT Crisis Line and the SafeUT and School Safety Commission, including provisions related to the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. The bill states that, “the state board shall provide training that instructs school personnel on the impact of childhood trauma.”

Vermont (VT)

S. 7, Act No. 52, enacted 6/10/19

Summary:  Relates to the evaluation of social service integration with accountable care organizations (ACOs), particularly the extent to which any existing relationships between social service providers and one or more ACOs address childhood trauma or resilience building. 

Washington (WA)

S. 5082, Act No. 386, enacted 5/13/19
Summary: Establishes the Social-Emotional Learning Committee to promote and expand social- emotional learning that will help students build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions that support success in school and life. 

S. 5415, Act No. 282, enacted 5/7/19
Summary: Creates a forum and a funding mechanism to improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the state, establishes the Indian Health Advisory Council, and establishes the Indian Health Improvement Reinvestment Account.

S. 5903, Act No. 360, enacted 5/9/19
Summary:  Implements policies relating to children’s mental health, revises provisions relating to the Children’s Mental Health Work Group, allows the work group to convene advisory groups to evaluate specific issues, and provides for workforce shortages of behavioral health professionals.