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By: Denise Bridges, Certified Prevention Specialist

During the spring of 2013, The Area Substance Abuse Council started began assessing different evidence based programs to implement in schools that would address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).  If you are not aware of ACES, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES, s) study was first conducted in the mid-1990s by investigators Dr. Vincent Felitti, with Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Robert Anda, with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These certain experiences are significant childhood traumas that can result in actual changes in brain development. ACEs can include: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, mother treated violently, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and incarcerated household members. These experiences in a child’s life can put them at elevated risk for substance abuse, delinquency and violence.

ACEsASAC chose the The Curriculum Based Support Group (CBSG) program to work with identified youth in schools and youth serving organizations that may fit the ACES profile.  CBSG is a multi-cultural prevention program that targets male and female children between 4-17. Each group sessions is devoted to a particular research program that cover topics:  Getting to Know You, How to Celebrate Someone Who is Unique; Special Qualities of each Group Members, Feelings, How to Handle Anger, What are Your Goals, How to Make Healthy Choices, Friends, and  How to Deal with Peer Pressure. At the end of the 10 week session the group will review everything that they have discussed and cover in the past 10 weeks. At the ten weeks’ celebration, members will discuss their experience and make a commitment not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

In Linn County the CBSG program has been implemented at the following schools: Franklin Middle School, Roosevelt Middle School, Harding Middle School, Mt. Vernon Middle School, Metro High School, Jane Boyd, Johnson Academy, St. Luke’s LIFE, and Heart of Iowa. Plans are being made to be implemented in Washington High School.

In Jones County, the CBSG has been implemented at Midland Elementary School.

Teachers who have has CBSG implement with their students have said the following, “CBSG Facilitators provide good conversation, established rapport, and provide community resources for girls in outside of schools and community.”

If you are interested in the Curriculum Based Support Group for your school or community group, please contact Erin Foster Director of Linn County Prevention Services, Area Substance Abuse Council at 319-390-1884.