The Child Development Council is distressed by the forcible separation of children from their parents as a result of current immigration policy.
The impact on children is staggering, not only today, but throughout the children’s lifetime.
According to Harvard Medical School, this is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents.
Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit mes¬sages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.
“The effect is catastrophic,” said Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School. “There’s so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this.”
Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southern U.S. border, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Recent reports state that the rate is on average 65 children per day.
The mission of the Child Development Council is to promote the healthy development of children and families at home, in child care and in the community. To this end, we are encouraging our community to speak out against forced separation at the border. Furthermore, we want there to be an immediate effort to:
• Cease current separation policy
• Provide for the separated children’s care and safety
• Provide parents with information as to the location and well- being of their children
• Begin reunification
Elected officials: What will you do to ensure the safety and well-being of immigrant children and families seeking asylum?