Dr. Colleen Kraft explained the harmful effects of separating immigrant children from their parents, as part of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
The president of The American Academy of Pediatrics visited a “tender care shelter” for migrant children in Texas and saw the mental harm being done to children as young as one year old.
“There was one little girl at the center of the room. She could not have been more than two years old and she was just crying and sobbing and just uncontrollable sobs,” she explained. “And there was a worker next to her who was trying to give her toys and trying to give her books and we heard was not allowed to pick her up and hold her. It was really, really very poignant and very telling that something very wrong was going on with these children.”
Dr. Kraft also believes these kids are at risk of developing “toxic stress,” which can cause long-term health problems for generations to come.
“When our body undergoes stress, we have an increase in the stress hormones,” she explained. “What we’re seeing with these children though are prolonged experiences and exposure to these chemicals so your fight-or-flight hormones stay high; you don’t have that loving adult who can help you buffer that stress and get through this process. So, these children don’t develop speech normally, they don’t develop those social and emotional bonds, they don’t develop their gross motor skills, and their while development is inhibited.”