Center for Youth Wellness ACEQ & User Guide

May 11, 2024 in

Center for Youth Wellness ACEQ & User Guide

Welcome to the Center for Youth Wellness Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ) and User Guide. This comprehensive tool is designed to support educators, healthcare providers, and community workers in identifying and understanding the early indicators of toxic stress and adversity in children’s lives.

Understanding ACEQ

The ACEQ is an essential instrument used for measuring the extent of adverse childhood experiences encountered by an individual before the age of 18. This includes experiences of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, and household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, or living with family members who have substance dependencies or mental health disorders.

How to Use the ACEQ

The questionnaire consists of a series of straightforward questions that respondents can generally complete quickly and without the need for professional assistance. Here’s how to implement the ACEQ in your professional setting:

  • Consent is Crucial: Ensure that the participant or their guardian understands the purpose of the questionnaire and consents to completing it.
  • Administer the Questionnaire: The ACEQ can be administered in a one-on-one setting or in a group format, depending on the environment and the comfort level of the participants.
  • Scoring: Each affirmative answer is scored as one point. The total score will help in assessing the level of exposure to childhood adversity.

Interpreting the Results

A higher ACE score indicates a higher exposure to adverse childhood experiences. While the ACEQ is not a diagnostic tool, it serves as a powerful indicator of the potential challenges a child may face:

  • Scores between 1 and 3 suggest moderate exposure, warranting further observation and possibly proactive supportive measures.
  • Scores of 4 or higher are considered high and typically necessitate more immediate intervention and the development of a detailed support plan.

Using the ACEQ Responsibly

While the ACEQ is invaluable in identifying at-risk individuals, it is crucial to approach its use with sensitivity:

  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Ensure that all responses are treated with the utmost confidentiality and are stored securely.
  • Follow-Up: It is important that the ACEQ results are followed by appropriate referrals and interventions. No individual should be left without support after disclosing traumatic experiences.
  • Training: Individuals administering the ACEQ should be properly trained not only in how to use the questionnaire but also in how to respond to the results empathetically and effectively.


The ACEQ is a pivotal component of our efforts at the Center for Youth Wellness to combat the effects of adverse childhood experiences and foster resilient, supportive environments where all children can thrive. By using this tool, we can uncover hidden challenges and begin the critical work of providing the necessary interventions that can alter the course of a child’s life for the better.

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