In response to Senate Bill 6191, the Healthy Youth Survey Planning Committee (HYSPC) has developed a new measure to help schools, districts, and communities better understand the burden of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among our state's youth. This new Washington HYS ACEs index (WAH-ACEs) is based on decades of research about how ACEs (e.g., bullying, abuse, and neglect) during childhood can affect short and long-term health and wellbeing in youth and adults.

The WAH-ACEs index will give schools and districts a picture of the negative experiences that their students are facing, and explore the need for potential further resources, training and/or trauma informed practices. This index can also help highlight the importance of protective factors like safe and stable relationships at home and at school.

HYSPC will calculate the index and provide guidance on how to interpret and use the index to inform decision-making. The index is calculated based on existing HYS questions that address home and school safety, bullying, food access, and intimate partner violence.

Schools that administer the extra questions that are part of the index and who have enough student responses will receive their building-level WAH-ACEs index results.

Schools that do not administer the extra questions will not receive building-level WAH-ACEs index results because the index includes information on sexual abuse captured in the extra questions. For reference, these questions are asked of 8th-12th graders only.

All schools will have access to county-level WAH-ACEs information and guidance on how to interpret it on AskHYS.net.

If you have questions about the new WAH-ACEs index, please contact Maayan Simckes (maayan.simckes@doh.wa.gov).