The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) today announced that Dave Ellis has been named as Executive on Loan to the State of New Jersey, functioning as the first Executive Director for the Office of Resilience within DCF. Ellis will share his expertise with the state and coordinate statewide efforts to prevent, protect against, and heal from the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse, neglect, household substance use, and parental separation, which affect children’s brain architecture and have negative, lifelong effects on health and well-being. Some children also face exposure to toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas due to systemic racism and the associated impacts of poverty resulting from disparate educational and economic opportunities.
“New Jersey is taking a momentous step towards tackling childhood trauma before it manifests into negative health outcomes. The DCF Office of Resilience will be another critical Nurture NJ partner as we work to break the cycle of trauma that has resulted from centuries of systemic racism and discrimination, and to address the mental and physical effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be proactive to ensure healthy women, become healthy pregnant women and ultimately healthy mothers,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Dave Ellis is joining the team at a critical time, and his expertise will ensure New Jersey is a leader in addressing ACEs.”
The Executive Director of the Office of Resilience will report to Commissioner Christine Beyer and liaise between State government and the Funders from the New Jersey ACEs Collaborative (the Collaborative) – the Burke Foundation, The Nicholson Foundation, and the Turrell Fund – in support of statewide ACEs-related policy and programming. This public-private alliance seeks to dramatically increase public awareness of ACEs and activate members from sectors such as health, business, education, child welfare, government, nonprofit and philanthropy to coordinate in addressing ACEs.
“DCF welcomes Dave Ellis to this new and critical role,” said Christine Beyer, Commissioner of DCF. “To say our country is at a crossroads would be an understatement as we are in the midst of battling two pandemics – COVID-19 and racism. The timing could not be more perfect for an expert in ACEs to help guide New Jersey through one of the most medically, emotionally, and psychologically traumatic times we have experienced in recent history. Together we will work to help our communities heal from the social and emotional impacts of ACEs, COVID-19, systemic racism, and other sources of toxic stress that challenge families’ ability to thrive.”