President of American Academy of Pediatrics called Trump Administration’s family separation policy “government-sanctioned child abuse”
WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)—June 26, 2018
By: Durbin Communications Staff
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today pressed Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for detailed information on the health and well-being of children forcibly separated from their parents as part of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The nation’s medical community has uniformly warned about the catastrophic health effects of this Administration’s family separation policy on children, and expressed strong opposition to family separation and indefinite detention of families. Durbin’s letter to the HHS Secretary seeks specific information on the mental health services, staffing capacity, and Department policies for providing care and reunifying children.
Senator Durbin said, “As a United States Senator, I am appalled by the President’s callous actions and irate that our federal agencies—including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—are shrouding basic information about these children’s well-being and when they will be reunited with their families. As a father and a grandfather, I am heartbroken. This Administration’s policies have created a humanitarian and health crisis that we have a moral obligation to rectify. You must reunite these children and parents immediately.”
When children experience serious traumatic events—such as being forcibly removed from their parents—their body’s stress-response system can be over-activated, creating a constant “fight-or-flight” mode that can literally disrupt a child’s brain chemistry. Decades of research have established the link between a child’s exposure to trauma, its harmful effect on neurological and behavioral development, and long-term health and societal consequences—such as mental health disorders, chronic disease development, and academic achievement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study found that those with four or more ACEs are up to twelve times more likely to attempt suicide. Parental attachment and building safe, stable, nurturing environments for children are foundations of healthy development, according to the CDC.
A petition from more than 12,600 mental health professionals states, “to pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma.” The President of the American Academy of Pediatrics has called this family separation policy, “government-sanctioned child abuse.” And the American College of Physicians has noted that, “those negative health impacts cannot be reversed.”
Full text of the letter is available here