First Focus on Children submitted the following statement for the record to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Excerpt from the statement:

As an organization committed to the health and safety of all children in the United States we are extremely concerned with the attempts of both Congress and the Administration to undermine the Flores Settlement Agreement to allow for the detention of children and families. Detention for any amount of time has negative life-long consequences for a child’s mental and physical well-being, and these consequences are compounded for children who have already experienced significant trauma. Children in detention facilities are ten times more likely than adults to experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and those rates increase the longer a child is in detention.1 In addition to harming a child’s mental and physical health, medical experts have also found that the conditions of detention can have life-long consequences for a child’s academic, economic, and social development.2 The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends discontinuing the general use of family detention and instead use community-based alternatives to detention for children and families. Additionally, the American College of Physicians recently raised concerns about the intention of Congress and the Trump administration to expand the use of family detention stating, “The fundamental flaw of family detention is not just the risk posed by the conditions of confinement—it’s the incarceration of innocent children itself… Detention of innocent children should never occur in a civilized society, especially if there are less restrictive options because the risk of harm to children simply cannot be justified.”

Read the full statement.