Nanette Diaz Barragán Wants Mental Health Care for Immigrant Children Separated from Their Parents
Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA)on Thursday introduced a bill to help address the lasting trauma placed on children separated from their parents as they cross the U.S. border as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The Mental Health Care for Children Inhumanely Separated from Parents by the Federal Government Act would require every child separated from his or her parents to undergo an assessment by a mental health professional within 24 hours of separation. It would also call for mental health services and access to mental health professionals to be provided to children on an ongoing basis regardless of whether the child remains in detention or not. All services would be provided free of charge. The majority of children separated from parents are currently in the care of Health and Human Services (HHS), and there's no real plan as for how to reunite them. Of the approximately 2,300 separations since May 5th -- when the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy went into effect -- about 500 have been reunited by the Customs and Border Patrol before going into HHS custody. “Separating children from their parents promises to have lifelong effects on the children who had to undergo this trauma,” said Barragán. “Children can develop separation anxiety and problems with trust and unresolved anger. If these problems go untreated, it can lead to deeper issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal behavior. We owe it to these children and we owe it to these families to provide them with the help they need.” More here.