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Brief Reports

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): A Summary of Promising Practices and Program Recommendations

Description: Increased public awareness has been focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and the ACE study in recent years.  The ACE study has brought a new understanding about links between early adversity, mental health, physical health, and long-term consequences of childhood experiences.  Talking about ACEs has helped raise awareness of child trauma across multiple disciplines, systems, and settings.  These conversations about ACEs have the potential to open doors in discussions with children, families, and providers that may lead to actions to prevent childhood adversity and promote healing for those who have experienced trauma.  ACE screenings may identify previously undisclosed trauma and adversity.  However, rushing into action without understanding the impact of trauma or without sensitivity to developing trauma-informed systems and practices could increase rather than alleviate stress.  Therefore this brief brings together resources and information from various sources to provide a context for understanding ACEs and providing best practices for trauma-informed care.

Report: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): A Summary of Promising Practices and Program Recommendations

Identifying, Prioritizing and Addressing Client Needs: Strategies for Home Visitors

Description: Community Health Workers from the Maternal and Infant Community Health Collaborative (MICHC) programs and Home Visitors from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Visiting (MIECHV) programs exclusively work in community settings among primarily disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. For simplicity in the rest of this report, the staff from these programs will be referred to as Home Visitors. While interacting with their clients, Home Visitors often encounter individuals with multiple and complex needs ranging from lack of access to health care to social, economic and behavioral issues. Some of these needs may fall within the scope of their roles and training, but other concerns may require referrals to clinical care providers or other resources.[1,2,3] This brief report highlights evidence-based and promising strategies to assist Home Visitors in identifying, prioritizing and addressing the multiple needs of the women and families they serve.

Report: Identifying, Prioritizing and Addressing Client Needs: Strategies for Home Visitors

Maternal Sleep & Sleep in Infants

Description: The National Sleep Foundation’s 1998 Women and Sleep poll found that 78% of women reported more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. Several sleep disorders can be caused or made worse by pregnancy. These disorders may include restless legs syndrome (RLS), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and frequent nighttime urination. Once her baby is born, a mother's sleep is frequently interrupted, particularly if she is nursing. New mothers often neglect their own needs. While this may seem like normal behavior from concerned new mothers, neglecting themselves puts their health at risk. In the long run, it may have an adverse effect on both partners but is especially taxing on a mother and may affect her ability to take proper care of her child. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common post-birth side effects as well as one of the most damaging.

Community Health Workers and Home Visitors are often on the front lines of health care for women that are of childbearing age. The importance of sleep for children is something that has recently become a “hot topic” in the media. Sleep is so crucial for many different functions of our bodies, and for the ability to perform on a daily basis. Additionally, safe sleep and prevention of death from unsafe sleeping conditions is an essential topic of anticipatory guidance for all parents of newborn infants.

Report: Maternal Sleep & Sleep in Infants

Stress Management

Description: This document provides an overview of the types of stressors that can affect home visitors and subsequently impact their work with the families they serve.  As such, it defines risk factors, protective factors, and ways to protect home visitors from being negatively affected by these stressors. 

This document is intended for home visitors, agencies and their staff. The information provided within can be adapted to provide support to workers to reduce the negative impact that can be related to their work with high-risk families.  The first section introduces the reader to the types of stress that can affect staff.  The second section explores the impact of stressors on home visitors.  The third section details risk and protective factors; and the fourth section provides recommendations to organizations and individuals.  Finally, a list of resources will be provided for the reader.

Report: Understanding Stress and Stress Management for Home Visitors