American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Compassion and Appropriate Care For Immigrant and Refugee Children

March 16, 2017

In a newly released policy statement, the Academy urges that immigrant and refugee children be treated with dignity and respect, with care that supports their health and wellbeing.

Amid turmoil caused by new federal executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees and calling for vast expansions to the detention of immigrants, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for the U.S. government to protect vulnerable children who are fleeing violence and poverty from being traumatized.

Immigrant children seeking safe haven in the United States should never be placed in detention facilities, regardless of whether they arrive alone or are accompanied by an adult, according to a new policy statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Children should never be separated from their families, according to the statement.

The policy statement recommends that immigrant children be treated with dignity and respect, and urges that they not be exposed to conditions that may further harm or traumatize them. The statement, "Detention of Immigrant Children," to be published in the April 2017 issue of Pediatrics (online March 13) reports that the Department of Homeland Security facilities for temporary housing of immigrants do not meet basic standards regarding the care of children in residential settings.

"We know that children can overcome stress when they feel safe and have enduring, supportive relationships with caregivers," said Julie Linton, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Immigrant Child Health Special Interest Group, a co-author of the policy statement and assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "All children deserve to be healthy and safe."

Read the entire AAP news release.

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Marguerite Beck:, 336-716-2415