The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the Council on Accreditation have released the following statement on efforts of the Biden administration to reunify families separated at the border:
The Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border had a profound impact on the well-being of children and families and will have long-term effects on their health, both physical and behavioral, over their lifetimes. The Biden administration’s move to create a task force to reunify children and their parents is an important and welcome first step in the right direction. With the parents of an estimated 628 migrant children still missing, there is no time to waste in finding these parents and reuniting them with their children, some as young as infants.
In his congressional testimony, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University noted, ‘Sudden, forcible separation of children from their parents is deeply traumatic for both the child and the parent. This triggers a massive biological stress response inside the child, which remains activated until the parent returns and provides comfort.’
This action is only a first step. The Alliance and COA has spoken out actively about family separation policies in recent years, and will continue to do so by calling for immediate action to appropriately locate every child and do all in their power to reunify families safely, providing them with the supports they need for healing.