NASET News Alert

Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences Increases Visits to Behavioral Health Services

January 20, 2023

A recent study found that children were 7.5 times more likely to visit behavioral health services after positive screening for adverse childhood experiences. New screenings for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increase the rate of positive screenings and reception of behavioral health services among children and adolescents, according to a recent study. ACEs have been associated with physical and mental health complications, but there have been challenges when attempting to implement wide-scale screening and appropriate action following positive screenings. The lack of guidelines for referrals and the slow uptake of ACE screening in pediatric primary care led to these challenges. Most states prioritize education programs related to trauma rather than considering how the need for these services could be identified in children. There are also few studies on how the implementation of ACEs screening impacts treatment response among pediatric patients in primary care. To determine the association between ACEs screening and completed visits to behavioral health services, investigators conducted a study in an integrated health care system. About 1.5 million children were served in the system, and data for the study was collected from the electronic records of pediatric patients from July 1, 2018, to November 30, 2021. Read More