SEPARATING PARENTS FROM THEIR KIDS AT THE BORDER CONTRADICTS EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT CHILDREN'S WELFARE

Colleen Kraft

May 3, 2018

This op-ed piece was written by Dr. Colleen Kraft, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience and the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Kraft shares her experience visiting a DHHS shelter for unaccompanied children, where she felt “helpless” to comfort a crying toddler who had been separated from her mother. Dr. Kraft writes that many pediatricians oppose family separation, and highlights the harmful effects it may have on the health of families. She writes, “Prolonged exposure to highly stressful situations - known as toxic stress - can disrupt a child’s brain architecture and affect his or her short- and long-term health.” When parents are unable to protect their children from these stressors, “children are susceptible to learning deficits and chronic conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and even heart disease.”