On the most recent episode of All Things Judicial, a podcast produced by the North Carolina Judicial Branch, Amelia Ashton Thorn, director of Special Projects at the Bolch Judicial Institute, discusses a new judicial education program to inform N.C. judges and court officials on the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
During the episode, Thorn describes the concept of ACEs, which began with a joint CDC-Kaiser study in the mid-1990s. Participants in the study were given a score — an ACE score — based on their number of adverse childhood experiences. The study found that as the number of ACEs increased, so did the risk for negative health outcomes.
“What we see and why this is so important is that judges really have a chance to intervene in the midst of this and to help start the healing for children that have experienced these ACEs,” Thorn said on the podcast.
The goal of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts is to examine the impact of ACEs on children and develop strategies for addressing adverse childhood experiences within the N.C. court system. To accomplish this, the task force, in working with the Bolch Judicial Institue at Duke Law School, the Winer Family Foundation, and various subject matter experts, will offer practical training to judges and court officials.
“We want to equip especially our juvenile officials with the ability to recognize young offenders and young victims that are impacted by ACEs because those folks are on the front lines, and they see those young people that may have been impacted,” said Judge Andrew Heath, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts and co-chair of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
All Things Judicial is a podcast about the important role of the North Carolina Judicial Branch in state government. The podcast follows a bi-monthly release schedule with each new episode available for download every other Wednesday.
It can be found on all podcast apps and on NCcourts.gov.
- Judge Andrew Heath, Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and Co-Chair of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
- Ben David, District Attorney for New Hanover and Pender Counties, and Co-Chair of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
- Amelia Thorn, Bolch Judicial Institute Assistant Director of Special Projects, Articles Editor at Judicature, and Member of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
- Lori C. Cole, Court Management Specialist for the North Carolina Judicial Branch.