The impact of adverse childhood experiences including homelessness, food insecurity, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and child abuse were the focus of a recent House Democratic Policy Committee at the state Capitol.

Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, (D-96), requested the hearing to discuss how traumatic experiences impact children’s cognitive development and how communities can come together to address the issue. The hearing confirmed that adverse childhood experiences have a lifelong impact on children that ultimately affect the societal costs of education, health care and corrections.

“I’m committed to bringing the committee together to hear testimony on the long-term impacts traumatic experiences have on children,” Sturla explained. “ACEs don’t just impact children in poverty; it’s the kid who witnesses alcoholism, drug use, or is the victim of sexual abuse. They aren’t limited by socioeconomic status. Identifying children who are suffering through these experiences could help us get them the assistance they need to overcome the trauma.”

The committee heard testimony from Dr. Roy Wade, instructor of pediatrics and general pediatrician, University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Dr. Maria McColgan, child abuse pediatrics fellowship director and associate professor of pediatrics, Child Abuse Research Education Service Institute and Rowan University; Dr. Jeanne Elberfeld, executive director, Schuylkill County’s VISION; and Alice Yoder, vice president of community health and collaboration, Penn Medicine Lancaster General.

The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first, good jobs, healthcare access, quality schools and job training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at:

More information about the Policy Committee is available at:




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