Traumatic experiences and chronic stress can harm kids now and for years to come. Pediatric experts have found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can cause serious, but preventable, complications in children and teens. ACE-related physical, emotional and mental problems continue to affect kids later on in life as adults, contributing to adult-onset disease.

Turning Life-Altering Events into Healing and Resilience

Complications can range from physical changes in the brain and body to emotional and behavioral disorders. Kids may find it difficult to learn and function well at school or home. Related challenges can lead to substance abuse, addiction, poor health and suicide risk.

The Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing (CRW) at Phoenix Children’s serves children from age 1 to 18 who have experienced any kind of ACE. Our pediatric specialists use effective, evidence-based approaches. Services range from educational resources to evaluation, resiliency counseling and multispecialty treatment options. We help kids strengthen resiliency – the ability to face adversity and return to a healthier state of being.

ACEs and Preventable Risks

Over the last 20 years, pediatric experts – including researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – have studied the life-changing effects of ACEs. Kids who experience chronic stress, violence, major life changes or troubles at home or school are at risk of ACE-related problems. Many can suffer physical, emotional, social and behavioral complications.

The CRW team at Phoenix Children’s is led by a specialized pediatrician and guided by a resiliency counselor. Our experts partner with the child or teen’s care team to offer tailored support for kids and their close family or caregivers.

Typically, a pediatrician or primary care provider makes a referral to CRW for evaluation. Our team considers the unique needs of every child or teen we meet. We take time to learn about day-to-day home, school and care environments and relationships. Treatment options include education, skills training, and fostering stable and nurturing adult support.

The first step toward helping kids who have faced life-altering ACEs is to talk to a pediatrician or primary care provider. They can help you determine whether a referral to CRW for evaluation might help. If your child is referred to us, we can customize an evaluation, resources and recommendations. Our CRW resiliency counselor may offer optional short-term counseling or referrals. Our resiliency counselor also helps participants to navigate our program and community resources and establish long-term therapy if needed.   

The CRW team includes a wellness nurse, a pediatric psychiatrist and other child-friendly specialists. We identify and build on individual and family or caregiver strengths, while addressing any potential problems.  

We encourage you to review the information here, including our free resources for patients and families. You’ll learn more and discover changes you can make right away. If your child or teen needs help, please discuss your concerns with their primary care provider. You can reach Phoenix Children’s CRW team at centerforresiliencyandwellbeing [at] (centerforresiliencyandwellbeing[at]phoenixchildrens[dot]com).


If you care for kids of any age, it’s important to understand the types and risks of ACEs. ACE-related impacts can alter brain structure and connections. They can influence everything from epigenetics (effects of behavior and environment on genes) to neuroendocrine and immune system function.

Kids are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety and a wide array of behavioral, social and physical health problems. These findings are supported by research from the CDC and other experts.

Take a moment to review our online resources about ACEs and the CRW’s evidence-based, multispecialty approach. In addition to a specialized pediatrician, our team includes a resiliency counselor and other experts. Our resiliency counselor is available for short-term counseling and case management. A wellness nurse, psychiatrist and other specialists are also part of the CRW team.

Read on for information about resources, screening and referrals to CRW. You can also reach us at centerforresiliencyandwellbeing [at] (centerforresiliencyandwellbeing[at]phoenixchildrens[dot]com).