Even the Trump Administration Agrees: Separating Children From Their Parents Is Appalling and Cruel

Ripping children apart from their parents can cause serious developmental problems:

Removal of a child from the family should only be considered as a temporary, last resort….Yet, about eight million children worldwide live in these facilities, even though an estimated 80 to 90 percent of them have at least one living parent. The physical and psychological effects of staying in residential institutions, combined with societal isolation and often subpar regulatory oversight by governments, place these children in situations of heightened vulnerability to human trafficking.

….Even at their best, residential institutions are unable to meet a child’s need for emotional support that is typically received from family members or consistent caretakers with whom the child can develop an attachment. Children are especially vulnerable when traffickers recognize and take advantage of this need for emotional bonding stemming from the absence of stable parental figures. In addition, the rigid schedules and social isolation of residential institutions offer traffickers a tactical advantage, as they can coerce children to leave and find ways to exploit them.

This comes from Donald Trump. That is to say, it comes from a State Department report published yesterday by his Secretary of State and promoted by Ivanka Trump. It is, in theory, Trump’s official opinion.

The good news, such as it is, comes in the next section of the report, which describes the administration’s dedication to trauma-informed care. A friend of mine has been promoting and implementing trauma-informed care throughout California’s state hospitals, and she has convinced me that this is both necessary and the best form of treatment we know. Separation of children requires this kind of care because, among other things, it can lead to permanent neurological damage in young brains.

It would be nice if this approach were adopted for all children separated from their parents. Or better yet, not separating them in the first place.