Separation of Families

The American Academy of Family Physicians strongly opposes the forced separation of children from family members or caregivers crossing the United States border unless the child’s immediate physical or emotional health or safety is at risk, as such separation poses great physical and mental health risks in terms of emotional trauma, safety, and diminished overall well-being. Detention has been associated with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harming behavior, sleep disturbances, and social withdrawal in adults and these negative effects are amplified in minor children who are separated from their family members or primary caregivers. The trauma sustained during separation can lead to lifelong adverse consequences. (2018 July BOD)