CHASP faculty Cynthia Osborne and her research group, the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP), co-hosted “Toxic Stress and Early Childhood: What Policy Makers and Funders Need to Know” on November 14, 2014. The event marked the first state level conversation about the physiological and costly implications of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), also known as toxic stress, and the current and potential policies developed to support Texas children and families. The event was co-hosted with TexProtects and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and attendees included policy leaders, physicians, researchers, and advocates.
Dr. Andrew Garner, one of the nation’s leading pediatric neuroscientists studying the effects of toxic stress on early brain development, was the keynote speaker and presented “Peering into the Black Box: Understanding the Link Between Significant Adversity or Violence in Childhood and Poor Adult Outcomes”. Representative John Zerwas (Texas House of Representatives, District 28), Chair of the Health and Human Services’ House Appropriations subcommittee, provided opening remarks.
“Multiple stressors in early childhood get under the skin and have long lasting effects that harm the child, family, community, and ultimately the state,” said Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and CFRP Director. “The implications of not addressing early childhood toxic stress are significant. It’s much more than just science – what and when targeted social policies are implemented are key.”
At the event, Dr. Osborne presented early findings from CFRP’s evaluation of the Texas Home Visiting Program that serves families with evidence-based early childhood intervention programs. Sarah Abrams with the Health and Human Services Commission and Sasha Rasco of the Department of Family and Protective Services discussed their prevention initiatives. Madeline McClure and Sophie Phillips of TexProtects also discussed the history and progress of home visiting in Texas.
For links and more about “Toxic Stress and Early Childhood: What Policy Makers and Funders Need to Know,” please go to http://childandfamilyresearch.org/about/toxic-stress/.
CHASP thanks Wendy Gonzales for her assistance in preparing this story.