A New Framework for Addressing Adverse Childhood and Community Experiences: The Building Community Resilience Model

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic Pediatrics








adverse childhood experiences; child health services; community resilience; integrated clinical and community care; toxic stress


© 2017 Academic Pediatric Association Objective We propose a transformative approach to foster collaboration across child health, public health, and community-based agencies to address the root causes of toxic stress and childhood adversity and to build community resilience. Methods Physicians, members of social service agencies, and experts in toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were interviewed to inform development of the Building Community Resilience (BCR) model. Through a series of key informant interviews and focus groups, we sought to understand the role of BCR for child health systems and their partners to reduce toxic stress and build community resilience to improve child health outcomes. Results Key informants indicated the intentional approach to ACEs and toxic stress through continuous quality improvement (data-driven decisions and program development, partners testing and adapting to changes to their needs, and iterative development and testing) which provides a mechanism by which social determinants or a population health approach could be introduced to physicians and community partners as part of a larger effort to build community resilience. Structured interviews also reveal a need for a framework that provides guidance, structure, and support for child health systems and community partners to develop collective goals, shared work plans, and a means for data-sharing to reinforce the components that will contribute to community resilience. Conclusions Key informant interviews and focus group dialogues revealed a deep understanding of the factors related to toxic stress and ACEs. Respondents endorsed the BCR approach as a means to explore capacity issues, reduce fragmented health care delivery, and facilitate integrated systems across partners in efforts to build community resilience. Current financing models are seen as a potential barrier, because they often do not support restructured roles, partnership development, and the work to sustain upstream efforts to address toxic stress and community resilience.