The work accomplished by Building Strong Brains continues to shape the culture and how Tennesseans think about early child development. Public policy conversations at the state legislature are now frequently including Adverse Childhood Experiences. In total, the Tennessee legislature has introduced eighteen pieces of ACEs related bills or resolutions. Currently, three ACE related statutes are established in the Tennessee Code. TCA 49-6-4109 which requires LEAs and public charter schools to adopt a trauma-informed discipline policy and requires the department of education to develop guidance on trauma-informed discipline practices that LEAs must use to develop a trauma-informed discipline policy. TCA 49-1-230 requires the department to develop an evidence-based training program on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for school leaders and teachers. TCA 36-6-408 requires that a 30-minute video on adverse childhood experiences be shown to parents attending the parent educational seminar.
In the 112th General Assembly, SB1384/HB0982 has been introduced which would require LEAs to implement an adverse childhood experiences (ACE) program; creates a process to refer students who have experienced four or more ACEs to appropriate mental and behavioral health providers and makes other related changes. Additionally, SB1482/HB1260 would require an LEA to notify the department of education if the LEA develops its own adverse childhood experiences training program. We are encouraged that each year Adverse Childhood Experiences continue to at the forefront of Tennessee legislation.