June 18, 2018

Child separation is a health danger

NPR - Pediatricians and immigrant advocates are warning that separating migrant children from their families can cause "toxic stress" that disrupts a child's brain development and harms long-term health.

At the facility in South Texas, [Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics] says, the staff told her that federal regulations prevented them from touching or holding the child to soothe her.

While shelter managers and other experts say there is no such rule, Kraft says the confusion underscores why these shelters are not the right place for young children — especially kids who have fled dangerous countries and who have just been separated from their parents. "By separating parents and children, we are doing irreparable harm to these children.";;;;;

.... "Kids started appearing at the shelter who didn't 'know the drill.' They had just been separated from their parents, so they were experiencing an increased amount of trauma," says Antar Davidson, who worked for Southwest Key, a nonprofit that operates more than two dozen shelters for migrant children from Texas to California.

Davidson quit this week because the shelter where he worked in Tucson, Ariz., didn't have the trained staffing to handle the influx of younger, more traumatized children, he says.

The breaking point for Davidson came, he says, when he was asked to tell two siblings, ages 6 and 10, that they couldn't hug each other. "They called me over the radio. And they wanted to translate to these kids that the rule of the shelter is that they are not allowed to hug," he says. "And these are kids that had just been separated from their mom — basically just huddling and hugging each other in a desperate attempt to remain together." Southwest Key says it has a clear policy that allows touching and hugging in certain circumstances.

Alexia Rodriguez, the company's vice president of immigrant children's services, says Southwest Key's facilities are licensed and adequately staffed. And they have worked for years with migrant children, many of them traumatized. "We love the kids. We have experienced staff to provide comfort, counseling. And help the child feel more comfortable," she says.

Asked if that meant it's "absolutely OK to hug them," Rodriguez replies: "Absolutely. I was at one of our shelters last week that has babies and preschoolers, and I walked around holding a baby the entire time I was there. And that's what you would see." The Office of Refugee Resettlement says there are now more than 11,000 children in its shelters. Almost half of them are in facilities run by Southwest Key, including several hundred who are 12 or younger.

Washington Post -The Department of Health and Human Services said that it had 11,432 migrant children in its custody, up from fewer than 9,000 at the end of May.


Anonymous said...

The parents must think coming to "el Norte" is worth the separation and trauma the kids experience.

Anonymous said...

The families coming to "el norte" are fleeing violence, gangs, drug and people trafficers, where their lives are in immediate peril. Until tRump, people with asylum claims were put into an asylum claims program if they asked for it at the border, and their families were not split up. US law allows this and until 45 took the oval office, the asylum laws worked. These asylum seekers are already traumatized and the risk of being incarcerated, and possibly split from their families is less risky then staying home and being killed. Those that cross illegally may or many not get caught. The people seeking asylum are doing it legally, except 45 and his cronies have decided to treat them as criminals.