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The Office of Resilience was created in June 2020, led by an executive on loan which is funded by the New Jersey ACEs Collaborative, an alliance of three NJ philanthropic organizations, the Burke Foundation, The Nicholson Foundation and the Turrell Fund, in partnership with the NJ Department of Children and Families.

The purpose of the office is to host, coordinate and facilitate statewide initiatives related to raising awareness of and creating opportunities to eradicate Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, through grassroots and community-led efforts, technical assistance and strategic support for organizations already pursuing this work. 

Background

The word resilience refers to the process of adapting and overcoming in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

In nearly every facet of life - family, friendships, government, industry, faith-based and community-based activities – adversity early in life, can be a fundamental determinant of human behavior and health.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are events that occur in childhood, such as living in a household with violence, neglect, substance abuse, food insecurity, parental separation or divorce, abandonment and untreated mental illness.

Research has shown that people who experienced four or more ACEs during childhood were more likely to face challenges in adulthood, including chronic health conditions, heart disease, anxiety disorders, depression, difficulty maintaining a stable relationship or steady employment, and sometimes, all of the above.

In the work of a child- and family-serving system, or law enforcement, or education or healthcare – as just a few examples - ACEs provide a concept and context for family behaviors, as well as our own. The challenges experienced by a person in childhood can trickle into adult interactions with their own children – putting ACEs in a relational, and generational context.

The difference between individuals who experience ACEs and have negative outcomes vs. those who experience ACEs and avoid negative outcomes can be as simple as one caring and competent adult, creating a pathway to healing.

With the support of Governor Murphy and his ‘whole of government’ approach, New Jersey is forging ahead collectively – state agencies, law enforcement, educators, social service organizations and stakeholders - to make ACEs and healing-centered practice integral to its work and policies.