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Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

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(913) 715-7000
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Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

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4-H Provides Protective Factors From Adverse Childhood Experiences

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As you can pretty surmise, childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have lasting effect on a youth’s development. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) has been a topic of discussion by many youth service organizations. Increasing body of research indicates that ACEs, such as abuse and neglect or other household challenges like economic hardship or parental separation can increase future risk for problems such as adult onset of chronic diseases, depression, as well as financial and social problems. A brief compiled by Child Trends showed that in Kansas, 23% of children experienced at least one ACEs, 8% experienced two ACEs,  and 13% of children experienced three or more ACEs.  

Here is the good news: ACEs and their consequences can be prevented through programs like 4-H. The combination of family, biological, psychological and community factors that reduce the negative impact of ACEs are called protective factors.The 4-H program is structured to provide and support the development of these protective factors through the community clubs that promote relationship building, giving back to the community, and developing competence and mastery in the youth’s interested projects.

Protective and promotive factors 4-H provides:

  •  Sense of belonging and connectedness
  • Identifying and cultivating a sense of purpose
  • Relationships with positive role models
  • Participation in structured youth programs (with monitoring and clear rules and expectations)
  • Close relationships with caring adults and peers (characterized by care, support, and acceptance)
  • Individual developmental competencies
    • Positive self-concept
    • Competence, self-efficacy, and agency
    • Self regulation
    • Problem solving and decision making
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Conflict resolution
    • Mastery

You can help assure that all kids reach their full potential by supporting 4-H. Ask us how you can volunteer to help provide safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environment for youth by emailing joco4h@gmail.com