Separating Families at U.S. Borders is Child Abuse

At LOHF (Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation) our mission is to improve children’s behavioral health in Lancaster County and equip healthcare providers toward this end. We cannot remain silent any longer on the current national policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking families at the southern U.S. border.

We are physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, mental health providers, school administrators, parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens. As professionals in fields promoting the healthy mental and emotional development of children, we know that separating children from parents causes serious harm when they are fleeing the trauma of violence, in search of safety. Imprisoning children in detention facilities apart from their parents causes extreme stress and anxiety. It can cause or compound post-traumatic stress disorder for both children and parents.

As professionals, we know that a child’s attachment to a parent in a highly stressful situation can mitigate the damaging effects on the young child’s developing brain. Separating children from their parents during these stressful times prolongs exposure to toxic stress, potentially causing serious, lifelong health complications.

That is why we stand with the many organizations opposed to detaining children and separating them from parents, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. We urge those involved to remember that these children and families are already uniquely vulnerable, and at high risk for lasting trauma that can damage their behavioral and physical health in the long term. They deserve our protection.


John Walker, Board Chair

Anna Brendle Kennedy, Executive Director