By Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth
Nov. 16, 2018

Amber Wallin is all about the numbers. After all, she manages New Mexico Voices for Children’s annual Kids Count data book and oversees the organization’s research and policy work. But there is one number she had never tallied before: Her ACE score.

The second annual Southern New Mexico Kids Count Conference held Wednesday in the Las Cruces Convention Center put its focus this year on childhood trauma and preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences, something that affects New Mexico kids at the highest rate in the nation, and which can have lifelong effects on physical and emotional health, and learning.

Her total: five ACEs.

She was raised in poverty by a single mother, she said, who suffered from depression, she witnessed domestic violence, and her father dealt with substance abuse issues.

Despite those early challenges, she is successful, and she and her husband are raising their two children without any of the adverse experiences she faced.

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