Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can alter the brain development of children and contribute to poor health and social outcomes later in life. Universal prevention of children’s exposure to trauma and supporting families should be a top priority in all communities. In addition to this, screening for and addressing trauma that has already occurred (through various multi-level, cross-sector approaches) is critical to the creation of healthy, resilient communities where all children and families have the opportunity to thrive.

While there are excellent services, programs and approaches designed to help children and families thrive in Travis County, it is unclear where the strengths and gaps exist across all community sectors that impact children and families. Thus, St. David’s Foundation has provided funds for the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing to develop an asset map to explore efforts in Travis County for preventing adverse childhood experiences and building individual and community resilience.

Project researchers will engage community stakeholders and service providers in interviews, conduct surveys, review websites, and social media information. To guide this process the research team has developed a “Foundations to Thrive” framework that explores assets and gaps in universal, secondary and targeted approaches across the sectors of health, mental health, education, basic needs, neighborhood climate and the built environment. The asset map will identify what Travis County is already doing well, and also where there are gaps that need to be addressed, at infrastructure, policy, and program and service levels. While it is not about identifying each specific service available to children and families, it will provide a “birds eye” view of approaches across multiple sectors that impact children ages 0-5 and their families. Specific attention will be placed on universal approaches that could impact community resilience and reduce the exposure to childhood adversity. Data collected from the project will be used to provide a final asset mapping plan, reports for dissemination of results, and an infographic of compiled results for stakeholders.

Results of this project will increase the understanding of services, policies and environments impacting children and families in Travis County and discover gaps in approaches currently being provided in order to grow strategies for the prevention of exposure to childhood adversity.