Separation and Detention of Parents and Children at the Border: Lessons from Impacts of Parental Incarceration on Children and Families
The crisis of family separation precipitated by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on the southern border has focused the nation’s attention sharply on the negative short- and long-term consequences of separating children from their parents. The negative outcomes of separating children from their parents have been documented through decades of rigorous research, with public awareness and subsequent action occurring to change practices around separation in children’s hospitals, military bases, orphanages, and child care settings. However, there is much less public awareness of the impacts of parental incarceration on children, although the numbers of children affected have increased dramatically over the past 30 years due to both criminal justice and immigration policies. This chapter will summarize recent research findings related to the detrimental impacts of parental incarceration on children and families, delineate factors that most directly relate to negative outcomes in children, establish the connection to detention of immigrant parents and effects on children, and conclude with recommendations for relevant policy and practice.
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