Be a Partner

We invite you to join this collaborative.


"Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today."

Dr. Robert Block

former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics

If adverse childhood experiences or ACEs were a virus we would have invested heavily in a vaccine by now.

In Australia we know that adults who had been exposed to four or more ACEs as a child were:

10.3x more likely to have injected drugs
6x more likely to have had or caused unintended teenage pregnancy
2.5x more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections
15x more likely to have committed violence against another person in the previous 12 months.
20x more likely to have been incarcerated during their lifetime –
4.6x more likely to suffer from depression
4.6x more likely to have attempted suicide

ACEs are early childhood adversities including abuse, neglect, and family challenges such as poverty, mental illness, and addiction. 69% of us will report at least 1 ACE and nearly 16% of us will report more than 4 ACES.

Parents experiencing early childhood adversity will without support transmit adversity to their children. The toxic stress associated with ACEs is infectious.

The science backing up the evidence on the impact of ACEs has also found a vaccine to prevent intergenerational spread of toxic stress. Yet amazingly, we continue to follow the same policies that lead to poorer outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Conservatively, the roll out of this vaccine will deliver a 1:8 return on investment. In Washington State they realised a lifelong return of 1:35.

So what is the vaccine?

"The Self-Healing Communities Model (SHCM) builds the capacity of communities to intentionally generate new cultural norms and thereby improve health, safety and productivity for current and future generations. The SHCM brings together recent scientific discoveries into a single framework."

Thriving Together is adapting the Self-Healing Communities Model for the Australia context. We started in the Clarence Valley, Northern NSW to create a community and parent centric collaborative to manage ACEs and prevent further intergenerational spread of ACEs.

We are shifting the narrative from "what’s wrong with me?" to "what’s happened to me?".

Our aim is to support parents through peer networks, engage communities to work towards safer, secure, and nurturing neighbourhoods, to work with education and other child agencies to develop trauma informed ways of working, and to influence government legislation, policy, and funding decisions.

As well as the health outcomes we now know ACEs are associated with increases in the rates of out of home care, incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment.

We understand this is a complex health and social care issue and to succeed we need to enrol families, communities, leaders, practitioners, funders, and agencies to work collectively for a common purpose.

We invite you to join this collaborative. If you are interested, connect with us.