Schoharie County ACEs Team
- Need: Agencies in Schoharie County, New York were seeing a widespread trend of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in children and families they served.
- Intervention: The Schoharie ACEs Team was formed as a way to educate rural communities about ACEs, the brain science behind it, and ways to build resiliency.
- Results: The ACEs Team has put on 4 half-day educational conferences, 2 virtual conferences, and 10 trainings for various groups across the region, trained 3 school districts on trauma-informed care, and provided resources for families exposed to trauma.
Siri Young, Mental Health Services Manager at Schoharie
County Head Start/Early Head Start, began noticing
patterns of trauma in the children referred to her. She
found that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were
commonplace for most of these children and families.
Schoharie County, located in rural central New York
state, has limited access to pediatric mental health
providers. Area human service agencies confirmed that
ACEs were universally affecting children in the county.
They came together to form the Schoharie County ACEs Team
The ACEs Team invited a diverse mix of agencies to
participate in monthly meetings to organize and build
resources, share information, discuss community needs,
and plan community-wide ACE educational events. Each one
of their events includes education on brain science and
strategies for conducting trauma-informed service
delivery and building resiliency.
Representatives from multiple sectors serve on the team,
Team members contribute funds and resources to support
the conferences and trainings. Their donations cover
printing costs, speaker stipends, and other expenses.
Every year, State University of
New York at Cobleskill co-hosts Schoharie County ACEs
Team conferences that are free to the public. The
conferences last half a day and have included unique
aspects centered around community education, such as:
- Keynote speakers with training and background in
ACEs. Former speakers have included an author, a
well-known blogger, an internationally-known ACE trainer,
and a pediatrician and researcher from Montefiore Medical
- An in-depth look at the brain science behind ACEs.
- Methods for building resilience.
- Self-care for families and professionals.
- Screenings of the films Resilience: The
Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope and
Tigers followed by panel discussions.
- The overlap of ACES and sex trafficking.
Upon request, the ACEs Team puts on trainings at various
venues and to different audiences like school districts,
the board of superintendents, and Job Corps. These
trainings are shorter, lasting an hour, and give a broad
overview of ACEs.
To date, the Schoharie ACEs Team has achieved the
- Hosted 4 ACE conferences at the State University of
New York at Cobleskill. Attendance has been around
200 people per conference.
- Hosted 2 virtual conferences.
- Hosted 10 trainings at various locations throughout
- Trained 3 school districts in ACEs and
- Created resource bags for families raising children
exposed to trauma. Bags include resources and practical
strategies in addition to ACE information.
Other positive outcomes of the ACEs Team's work include:
- Multiple groups from other New York counties have
contacted the ACEs Team asking for advice about starting
their own ACE initiative.
- After attending an ACE training, the Cobleskill
Police Department implemented a new policy that requires
the department to contact the school district counselor
if a child has been present during a police call. That
way, the child's school will be informed and can provide
- Schoharie County Head Start has begun distributing
ACE Questionnaire and the
Resilience Questionnaire to families who have
experienced ACEs, followed up with discussion about
- The Schoharie County plan includes goals around
addressing ACEs in the community.
- The Schoharie ACEs Team was selected as a site visit
from the Health Resources & Services Administration
- The ACEs Team was asked to present about their group
and work at the New York State Association of County
- The program has seen an increase across systems in the use of common language and a common understanding of childhood trauma.
In 2021 and 2022, the Schoharie ACES Team partnered with the Safe Harbour Program for ACES trainings, combining resources to broaden the programs' reach for speakers.
- Initially, the ACEs Team targeted early childhood
development professionals and parents. Since the
conversation around ACEs is growing, the events' focuses
have expanded to include all community members.
- Parents have been the hardest group to recruit to the
conferences. The ACEs team has considered hosting future
conferences in a location parents may be more likely to
attend – like local elementary or high schools.
- Although the ACEs Team desires for many more groups
to join, it has been difficult getting commitments when
agencies are already spread so thin.
- After each conference or training, those in
attendance typically ask, "what are some specific steps
we can implement?" Because ACEs vary for each person, it
has been a challenge to outline one formula since plans
are typically catered to the environment and to the
- Lack of funding and finding funding sources has been
- Transportation to venues is difficult for some
because public transportation is very limited in a rural
The Team recommends the following for those interested in
replicating the Schoharie County ACEs Team and their
- Requiring large commitments for members can be a
deterrent. Instead, allow people to come as they can and
participate how they are able. Having a large group to
add to the conversation and spread the word about ACEs
and the team's efforts is beneficial.
- Making educational events free has been a draw for
attendees. Whether through grants or donations, find an
alternative way to cover the cost of speakers and
Additional tools and resources:
- The ACEs Team uses
ACE resources created by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and
handouts by the Community & Family Service Division
for their materials.
- The ACEs Team distributes informational handouts at
their conferences and trainings and promotional
fliers for their events at local venues and on
Abuse and violence
Children and youth
Community engagement and volunteerism
June 29, 2018
Date updated or reviewed
December 20, 2022
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
Schoharie County ACEs Team [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 3 October 2023]
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