“This does amount to child abuse!”, was the statement given today by the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Colleen Kraft MD when addressing the forcible separation of children from their family upon crossing our border. “Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians — protecting and promoting children’s health,” she added. “The new policy is the latest example of harmful actions by the Department of Homeland Security against immigrant families, hindering their right to seek asylum in our country and denying parents the right to remain with their children.”
In an article written by Devin Miller for AAP News, “Highly stressful experiences, including family separation, can cause irreparable harm to lifelong development by disrupting a child’s brain architecture. Toxic stress, which is caused by prolonged exposure to heightened stress, has detrimental short- and long-term health effects.”
“When children are separated from their parents, it removes the buffer of a supportive adult or caregiver to help mitigate stress and protect against substantial impacts on their health that can contribute to chronic conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and heart disease.”
An educational Toolkit on childhood separation, immigration policies, and suggestions on how to assist affected families was published by the AAP and is available online.
In a related article, the UN Rights Chief has called the separation of children from their families under the Trump administration as “unconscionable”. In a news release today from Geneva:
The U.N. human rights chief is blasting the Trump administration over itsseparating migrant children from their parents after entering the United States from Mexico, saying they’ve affected nearly 2,000 kids in the last six weeks and put them at risk of “serious health consequences.” The High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an immediate end to the practice.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the high commissioner, says it’s “unconscionable” that any country would seek to deter parents from migrating “by inflicting such abuse on children.” The high commissioner’s office had already condemned the practice of separating children from their parents this month, calling it a serious violation of children’s rights and international law.