Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are repeated, traumatic events in children’s lives affecting their health and wellbeing into adulthood. Homeless children and youth are exposed to multiple ACEs placing them at risk for repeating family cycles of addiction, poverty and homelessness. Resilience—the ability to cope with and adapt well to adversity, trauma, and chronic stress—can help children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Caring adults can offer the empathy, support and protection necessary to lead to hope and healing. Multiple ways to increase resilience and protective factors will be discussed to help children bounce back from adversity and bounce forward to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
In families experiencing trauma and toxic stress, children are often the first to be hurt and last to be helped. To help these silent, invisible sufferers there is a need to understand the impact of the adversity they experience. Their resilience and environmental protective factors need to be strengthened, increasing their wellbeing and prospects.