Almost half of D.C. children have suffered a traumatic experience, according to federal survey

In the District, 47 percent of children and teens have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has been suicidal or who has a drug or alcohol problem, according to new federal data. In Maryland and in Virginia, the rate was 41 percent.

The findings come from state-by-state survey data released Thursday from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, which aims to take a first-ever real-time look at the rate of children affected by adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Such experiences can have serious long-term impacts on a child’s health and well-being, studies show, including increased risk for smoking, alcoholism, depression and heart disease.

Public health advocates hope this data, which is expected to be collected annually, will undergird a wide range of policy changes to prevent such adversity and to help children heal.

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