APA Joins Health Care Community in Calling on Congress to Hold Hearings on Treatment of Children Separated From Parents at Border

Washington, D.C. – Today the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and 13 other health care organizations sent a letter to House and Senate oversight committees urging them to hold hearings with officials with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services on the treatment of children and families who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border.

In recent months, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents who arrived at the U.S. border. A federal judge has ordered that children under age 5 be reunited with a parent by July 26, it has yet to be determined if that deadline will be met. The letter states that recent reports “continue to raise troubling questions about the quality of care and treatment they are receiving.” The letter goes on to re-state the health care community’s opposition to separating children at the border and calls for Congress to hold public hearings to get answers that the public has not yet received.

“We know that separating children from their parent causes undue harm and stress, which can have lifelong health and mental health consequences,” said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. “We call upon Congress to step in and fully examine this harmful practice so that it doesn’t occur again and that the children who remain in custody are returned to their parents and that both parents and children receive the care they need.”

In addition to the APA, the following organization signed the letter: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Pediatric Society, American Psychological Association, Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Policy Council, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the Society for Pediatric Research.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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