The New Jersey ACEs Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a partnership between the Turrell Fund, The Nicholson Foundation, the Burke Foundation, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), serving as a unique public-private alliance seeking to increase public awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and mobilize sectors such as health, business, education, child welfare, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy to coordinate in addressing ACEs across New Jersey.
ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse, neglect, domestic violence, household mental illness, household substance misuse, and parental separation or divorce. Without the presence of a positive buffer, such as a nurturing parent or caregiver, ACEs can lead to a toxic stress response that disrupts brain architecture and has negative, lifelong effects on health and well-being.
The statewide work of the Collaborative is spearheaded by Dave Ellis, Executive Director for the Office of Resilience within DCF. Ellis leads a cross-sectoral committee comprised of New Jersey leaders to coordinate statewide work, including the development and implementation of a statewide action plan that will address the needs and strengths of New Jersey’s children and parents. In addition, he will represent NJ ACEs initiatives both locally and nationally, identify grassroots and community-led ACEs efforts, and offer technical assistance and support for organizations to implement the action plan.
The goal of the ACEs Collaborative is for New Jersey to become a trauma-informed state, resulting in reduced instances of ACEs and enhanced support systems for children, and helping people who have experienced trauma build resilience. Resilience against instances of ACEs prevents toxic stress and supports New Jerseyans’ long-term health and well-being.