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Published: December 18, 2019 By: Kris Demers, Prevent Child Abuse NC Communications Manager

As we head into a new decade, there is an opportunity for employers and policymakers to strategically improve outcomes for future generations. New science is here to lead the way as we work together in partnership to forge a new path for healthier, stronger families and communities.

The science is clear: children who are raised in safe, stable, nurturing environments are more likely to grow up to become more productive, prosperous workers who help create supportive, healthy communities.

The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Vital Signs report, authored by Prevent Child Abuse America CEO, Dr. Melissa Merrick, provides the first U.S. estimates of how preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – including child maltreatment – and associated trauma has the potential to reduce chronic diseases, risky health behaviors, and socioeconomic challenges.

Responses from more than 144,000 adults in the report led authors to conclude:

  • ACEs are common—more than half of respondents experienced at least one type of ACE, and one in six reported four or more types of ACEs.
  • ACEs are linked to chronic health problems – at least five of the top 10 leading causes of death are all associated with ACEs: heart disease, cancer respiratory diseases, diabetes, and suicide.
  • ACEs are linked to mental health conditions – preventing ACEs could reduce the number of adults with depression by as much as 44% – up to 21 million cases.
  • ACEs are linked to socio-economic challenges including reduced educational and occupational achievement, unemployment, and lack of health insurance.
  • ACEs are preventable – while it might not be possible to avoid every ACE, there are many opportunities to prevent ACEs from happening in the first place.
  • Preventing ACEs has the potential to reduce leading causes of death and have a positive impact on health, education and employment levels.

The Way Forward

The CDC highlights solutions for creating safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children, families and communities, which is essential to preventing ACEs. Among these solutions is shifting the focus from individual responsibility to community responsibility by building solutions such as economic supports for families, family friendly work policies, like paid leave and flexible work schedules, and earned income tax credits.

It’s good for business:

Family-friendly workplaces give employers a competitive edge by attracting and retaining talent, improving worker productivity, increasing employee loyalty, and keeping more women in the workforce. When businesses invest in their employees, they are investing in their bottom line.

It’s good for families:

When employees are supported, they are better able to provide the positive, nurturing experiences and environments their children need for healthy brain development. When parents are better able to care for their children, we’re helping raise the next generation of workers, parents, and leaders.

It’s good for our economy:

These policies are essential to improve child and family health and well-being which ultimately benefits our state’s current and future economy.

Watch how these family-friendly workplaces in North Carolina are leading by example.

When communities come together to support children and families, we all benefit: our fellow citizens are better educated, employees are more effective and miss less work, and we’ll see a profound impact on the quality of life in the communities in which families live.

We urge North Carolina businesses to support the health and well-being of their employees and their families. To learn more about family friendly practices, please visit Family Forward NC.