Statement on Parent-Child Separations
June 24, 2018 • By Sarah Walzer

The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) strives to support, enhance, and highlight the value of the parent-child relationship every single day in all the work we do. Decades of scientific research has determined that it is in the best interest of children to keep parents and children together and to do everything we can to build, support, and sustain this critical attachment, the parent-child bond that enables children to thrive in school and in life. By showing, sharing, and encouraging positive parent-child interaction through play and reading experiences, PCHP’s community-based staff helps families ensure the secure, positive, and nurturing relationships that are the foundation for children’s future success.

Adverse childhood experiences, particularly sudden and unexpected family separation, such as separating families at the border, can and will lead to emotional trauma in children. These actions can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues in children that cause long lasting effects. Research also suggests that the longer parents and children are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression are for children.

The actions of the Trump administration removing young children from their parents goes against all that we know is right for children and their families. We stand with our PCHP local site partners and early childhood experts and programs across the country in condemning the recent actions that have so traumatically impacted families at the U.S.-Mexico border and are now impacting children scattered throughout the U.S. who have been torn from their parents.

President Trump’s recent executive order does not rectify this situation, and we fear that young children and their families are going to continue to be negatively impacted in detention camps and other settings across the county. We urge Congress and the administration to take the right and moral action and quickly address this situation.

Our program families speak over 50 languages, but the language of love and hope speaks to all of them and should speak to all of us. We must all stand up and ensure that families that have been separated are reunited and that no more children suffer the pain and potential life-long damage of being separated from their parents.