Adverse Childhood Experiences

For more information on The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program funded programs addressing ACEs, please visit

Our program understands the importance of using the best available evidence to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences and reduce further harm of individuals from other forms of injuries and violence. To assist our program with the best available evidence, our program relies on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention technical package: Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences: Leveraging the Next Available Evidence: A Technical Package.  for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities. as its guide. We focus on individuals, families, relationships, and communities to broaden societal change.


Our Work

Intervening to lessen harms and prevent future risk 

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) model: Developed by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland (UMD), SEEK is an evidence-based model to address child abuse and neglect, with the goal to strengthen families and promote positive parenting, leading to positive child health, wellness, development and safety outcomes, and ultimately working to prevent child abuse and neglect. SEEK places an emphasis on screening and referrals for common child abuse and neglect risk factors, which have shown to lead to child maltreatment, inclusive of parental depression and severe stress, unhealthy substance use, harsh punishment, intimate partner conflict, food insecurity, among others.

To accomplish this work, VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program partners with the Virginia Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics to conduct quality improvement models in the implementation of SEEK within their member practices; Virginia Commonwealth University Child Protection Team in the implementation of SEEK through Community Navigator linkage of care and resources models; and Virginia Commonwealth University to evaluate the integration of SEEK into clinical practice.

To learn more about SEEK, visit

Reducing Maternal Deaths Due to Violence:

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program and Epidemiology team is partnering with the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Academy of Family Physicians, Carilion Women’s Quality and Patient Safety
team, VDH Division of Child and Family Health, media and policy specialists, and joining health systems to enhance Virginia’s capacity to sustain implementation of evidence-based interventions that significantly improve health outcomes and reduce deaths of pregnant and postpartum women from suicide and homicide.

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program Drug Overdose Prevention Program: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. Our program trains healthcare providers to clinically manage opioid treatment approaches for substance use disorders.

To find a MAT waivered practitioner, please visit Buprenorphine Treatment Practitioner Locator | SAMHSA

Access to community resources and healthcare

Unite Virginia is a coordinated care network of health and social service providers. Partners in the network are connected through Unite Us‘ shared technology platform, which enables them to send and receive electronic referrals, address people’s social needs, and improve health across communities.

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program works with the Virginia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics to stand up the Bridge2ResourcesVA platform. This platform is to provide open access to community resources. Visit Bridge2ResourcesVA here: 

Strengthening economic supports to families

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program Low Income Safety Seat Distribution and Education Program: Free child safety seats and booster seats are available for income eligible children. Parents, foster parents and legal guardians of children who reside in Virginia may apply. To learn more, visit

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program supports collaborative partners to message their initiatives in strengthening household financial security.

Partner Efforts

The Virginia WIC Program. WIC stands for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The Program provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, supplemental nutritious foods, counseling at WIC clinics, and screening and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services. The goal of the Program is to improve the health of pregnant women, infants and children (under 5 years) through better nutrition and access to health care. To be eligible for the WIC Program, applicants must meet categorical, residential, income, and nutrition risk requirements. To learn more about WIC and how to apply for benefits:

Virginia Medicaid. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. To learn more about Virginia’s Medicaid and FAMIS programs for children, pregnant women and adults, visit

The Virginia Department of Social Services: DSS develops and administers programs that provide timely and accurate income support benefits and employment services to families and individuals in the Commonwealth. These programs assist citizens as they transition from dependency on public assistance programs to self-sufficiency. To learn more, visit

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD): DHCD offers many resources to assist with housing needs, from housing rehabilitation to homebuyer resources. To learn more, visit

Ensuring a strong start for children

The VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program supports collaborative partners to message their initiatives in ensuring a strong start for children.

The VDH Family Home Visiting program and partners: Evidence-based and evidence-informed home visiting is a voluntary early childhood strategy that can enhance parenting and promote the growth and development of young children beginning during pregnancy. Home visiting programs are focused, individualized, and culturally competent services for expectant parents, young children and their families within safe homes and connected communities. These programs are made available in the home and help families strengthen attachment and promote optimal development of their children, promote health and safety, and reduce the risk of child maltreatment. To learn more, visit

Promote social norms that protect against violence and adversity

Public education campaigns. VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program works with media partners to disseminate public education campaigns in shifting social norms that can lead to ACEs. These campaigns shift the narrative away from individual responsibility to one that engages the community and draws upon multiple solutions to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children. Such a narrative can also normalize protective factors by enhancing connectedness and reducing the stigma around seeking help with parenting or for substance misuse, depression, or suicidal thoughts.

Teach skills

Parenting skills and family relationship approaches. Circle of Parents® is a national model with the mission of preventing child abuse and neglect and strengthening families through mutual self-help parent support groups. The Circle of Parents program is firmly established in the principle of parent empowerment. According to a best practice standard set by the Circle of Parents model, local meetings are led by parents from the groups. Parents are encouraged to become advocates for themselves, their families and their communities. Parent leadership development and parent leadership training is a focus in every aspect of the Circle of Parents program. The practitioner’s role is to support the parent leader in developing stronger leadership skills. The “parent” voice is central to all aspects of the Circle of Parents program – at all levels of the program.

Families Forward-Virginia manages this program in partnership with VDH Injury and Violence Prevention Program. To learn more, visit Circle of Parents | familiesforwardva