For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2018
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REP. BARRAGÁN INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH CARE
FOR SEPARATED CHILDREN
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán introduced the “Mental Health Care for Children Inhumanely Separated from Parents by the Federal Government Act.” The bill is intended to help address the lasting trauma placed on children separated from their parents as a result of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
“The Trump administration’s policy of family separation is cruel and does not represent our values as a nation. Separating children from their parents promises to have lifelong effects on the children who had to undergo this trauma,” said Rep. Barragán. “Children can develop separation anxiety and problems with trust and unresolved anger. If these problems go untreated, it can lead to deeper issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal behavior. We owe it to these children and we owe it to these families to provide them with the help they need.”
The bill would require every child separated from his or her parents to undergo an assessment by a mental health professional within 24 hours of separation. Mental health services and access to mental health professionals would be provided to children on an ongoing basis regardless of whether the child remains in detention or not. All services would be provided free of charge.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Committee is a lead co-sponsor of the legislation.
“After seeing children separated from their parents firsthand, it is abundantly clear that President Trump’s cruel family separation policy will have untold health consequences for years to come. The toxic stress and trauma that family separation has on young children cannot be left unaddressed,” said Rep. Thompson. “As a grandfather and an American we must make sure the Federal Government provides needed mental health services to help children deal with the mental injury. I thank Congresswoman Barragán for having the foresight to introduce this unfortunately necessary legislation.”