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Statement in Response to Babies Being Separated From Their Parents at the U.S. Border

The following statement should be attributed to Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer at ZERO TO THREE:

“The secure attachments young children form to their caregivers are the bedrock of healthy development and emotional stability, providing a sense of security and a buffer from the toxic effects of stress and trauma.

Migrating to a new country is already stressful. Separating children and caregivers destroys the relationships that foster resilience. Make no mistake; separation at this point is a trauma that can have long-term impacts on an infant’s well-being. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can follow.

The practice of having border agents remove children from caregivers suddenly and place them in institutional care, especially without any policy for visitation, maintenance of their attachment relationship, or reunification, amounts to child maltreatment.

Anyone with infant/early childhood mental health expertise – and anyone with a heart for children – will tell you that separating young children from caregivers at the U.S. border is appalling and must be stopped.”


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