Editorial: A State Where Every Child Thrives

MADISON, Wis. - One of the most important discoveries we’ve made as an editorial board over the last decade, and one of the motivating factors behind this year’s agenda item of A State Where Every Child Thrives, is the pervasive impact of trauma on families and children.

Living in poverty, underemployed, enduring food insecurity, the effects of crime and abuse, and more is physically and emotionally unhealthy and dangerous. A new UW-Madison study underscores that theory.

The new research shows the brains of young people who lived in traumatic conditions as children don’t function the same as brains in young people with healthier and safer backgrounds. The kids coming from childhood stress are more likely to make bad choices and engage in risky behaviors.

So, many do bad things, get punished and the punishment doesn’t register like it does with kids with less stressful lives. Shouldn’t that knowledge influence how we shape policies for kids and families?


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