KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research

Oprah: A New ACEs Champion

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 @ 02:08 PM

Oprah Discovers ACES!

Oprah has become a passionate champion for broadcasting the alarming impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs refers to the profound long-term impact that traumatic childhood experiences have on health and well-being. One could hardly find a more beloved TV/movie personality and billionaire to champion this long-overlooked cause! In a recent segment on the 60 Minutes television series

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, parent-child relationship, court involved, adverse experiences/toxic stress, ACE

Mindfulness Builds Positive Parenting for Moms in Opioid Use Treatment

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 12:59 PM

I’m delighted to share the results of a research study on a mindfulness-based parenting (MBP) intervention for mothers in treatment for opioid use disorders. With the abundance of news reports about the opioid epidemic, it’s heartening to share some good news regarding families affected by opioid misuse. This study is of special interest to me because it was carried out at the women’s substance abuse treatment center in Philadelphia where I worked for nine years.  As someone who formerly worked in this challenging field, I found this article inspiring. This relatively brief and inexpensive MBP group intervention produced an incredibly large change in the parenting behavior of mothers who struggled with multiple risk factors. 

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Tags: parenting behavior, mindfulness based parenting, adverse experiences/toxic stress, ACE, opioid addiction, opioid use treatment

Is ACEs Screening for Parents Helpful?

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Wed, May 11, 2016 @ 06:00 AM


This week we return to the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences.  In our previous blog, we explored ACEs screening for children. What about ACEs screening for parents?

This is a question that I first heard when conducting an evaluation with a home visiting program for mothers and their children under 3 years old. The clinical staff had noted numerous traumatic childhood experiences reported during their conversations with participating mothers. Yet we had no group level information about how widespread these experiences were. The clinical staff decided to administer a structured screening inventory with each mother to describe the age and occurrence of traumatic experiences during childhood and adulthood. The results were astounding, and deeply troubled the clinical staff. 

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, parent-child relationship, adverse experiences/toxic stress, ACE

Adverse Childhood Experiences:  ACEs Screening for Children?

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 02:47 PM

The ACE studies have been at the forefront of nearly every early childhood conference I’ve attended for the past couple of years. ACE is an acronym for adverse childhood experiences, such as domestic violence, divorce, death of a parent, family members’ substance abuse or mental health challenges. These studies have raised our understanding of both the high prevalence and long-term consequences of adverse childhood experiences. Also, we’ve learned that children of various backgrounds and socio-economic levels can suffer adverse events.  We are now aware that ACEs may occur in families from all walks of life. The initial ACE study at the Kaiser Permanente HMO in California in the late 1990s demonstrated that nearly two-thirds of the 17,000 participants reported at least 1 ACE and one-fifth reported 3 or more ACEs. As the number of ACEs increased, so did the likelihood of showing unhealthy behaviors and negative physical and mental health outcomes as adults. Subsequent studies have shown similar results in multiple populations, raising alarming public health concerns. It is important to note that the initial ACE study was done with the general population of people receiving HMO care, without selection for risk factors.

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Tags: Parenting Assessment, protective factors, adverse experiences/toxic stress, ACE