ACEs in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Kindergarten Health Check
Extensive research has shown a strong link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and difficulties later in life. Taking a preventative or early intervention approach to supporting child social and emotional wellbeing can make a big difference.
Parents/carers of school-entry aged children in all Australian Capital Territory (ACT) schools are invited each year to agree to their child undergoing an ACT Kindergarten Health Check (KHC), which involves a physical health check and a questionnaire with health, developmental and behavioural questions.
From 2020 the KHC also includes questions regarding children’s adverse childhood experiences (ACES). Parents/carers nominate their family GP for a copy of their KHC results to be sent to, so they can be discussed in the context of a trusted and confidential family consultation. Below is information about the research on ACEs and their impacts, the rationale for including ACEs questions in the KHC, how GPs can interpret the ACEs scores, and how to conduct ACEs discussions with families.