Recent reports have made clear that children continue to be separated from their parents and caregivers at the southern US border, despite an official end to the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy. By our government’s own definition, these actions constitute undeniable child abuse. Prevent Child Abuse America’s mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of every child. As such, we implore the President and legislators to work together to change this practice now.
Myriad organizations have issued policy statements, including one by Prevent Child Abuse America nearly a year ago, which calls for both parties of Congress and the Administration to “come together immediately to find a solution that strengthens families, does not separate them, and supports the well-being of all children.” Still, little has changed. So here’s what Prevent Child Abuse America will continue to do:
Along with contacting our own representatives and the President, which we encourage everyone reading this message to do, I pledge to actively pursue meetings with local, state, and federal officials and leverage my position and professional expertise to address their concerns, listen to their ideas, answer questions, volunteer to testify at public hearings, and ultimately provide them with the data and scientific evidence that leads to legislation permanently ending child separations at the border.
Moreover, I commit to work with Prevent Child Abuse America’s nationwide chapter network to develop a portfolio of valuable resources, including:
- A legislative action alert with clear, concise talking points;
- A session at our upcoming conference dedicated to child separation (complementing the webinar we hosted on the issue last week);
- Ongoing guidance to home visitors on helping parents understand their legal rights; and
- An updated position statement.
Together, we will equip ourselves and our partners and constituencies with actionable tools that help them clearly demonstrate to lawmakers that protecting children from the trauma of being separated from their parents and caregivers is not only decent and humane, it also makes good financial and public health sense, supported by economic data and decades of scientific evidence.
The well-being of all children is a fundamental principle we all embrace and fight for. There are no political, cultural, or economic divisions on preventing child abuse and neglect. I hope you’ll join us in ensuring that children are never unnecessarily separated from their parents, families, or caregivers at US borders.
Dr. Melissa Merrick
President & CEO