About

Working Group on Early Identification of Risk

This working group is guided by the theory that we must identify risk and intervene early in order to interrupt the transmission of trauma from adults to children ages 0-5. The group's pilot study will assess children at risk for poor socio-emotional outcomes at an earlier age than current measures, in order to direct families to appropriate services.

The current project to evaluate risk in children of parents with a history of childhood trauma formed around the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. Although the initial ACE survey study took place almost 20 years ago, interest in and use of the ACE methodology and major findings have continued to grow. At the same time, it has been difficult to compare program successes and research findings across organizations, because many different versions of the adult ACE screener are in use.

For the FOI pilot, members modified the adult ACE screener to create a more standardized, easy-to-administer instrument that hews closely to the original ACE survey, and they developed a new child ACE screening tool. A diverse nationwide sample of participating sites that provide family and child services will administer 2,500-3,000 parent and child tests, along with well-validated measures that evaluate child social-emotional development, parental stress, and maternal depression.

Working group members will use these findings to assess the robustness, reliability, and sensitivity of the ACE tools, as well as to define future lines of inquiry.


The University of Maryland School of Social Work's Institute for Innovation and Implementation, a member group, has created The Early Identification of Risk (EIR) Data Collection Tool. This secure web-based portal is used to collect and analyze the measurement data and corresponding demographic information needed to support the Working Group on Early Identification of Risk.