As you may have heard last week, due to federal policy separating children from their parents at our nation's borders, we now have a crisis of over 2,000 children separated in just the past six weeks, and potentially more from before that. We have learned from the LA Times that approximately 100 of those children were sent to Los Angeles.
Our Southern California Chapter of the AAP (Chapter 2) stands with District and National AAP to condemn the practice of separating children from their parents at the US border. As pediatricians and experts in child health, we recognize that these children will suffer from the related toxic stress and trauma potentially over their entire lifetime. In addition to the separation from their parents, these children are also being further traumatized by institutional practices in federal detention centers as they await hearings for asylum.
Several of you have reached out to our office asking how to help. We are hearing that there is a need for pediatricians who are able to perform forensic examinations for children's requests for asylum. Please let us know if you are interested in providing these exams and we will connect you to the appropriate legal entities. We are working to identify resources in each of the seven counties (Los Angeles, Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside) in our chapter and will be passing those along in the next few weeks.
Finally, we have a new chapter Immigrant Health Committee that was started about a year ago to address these growing issues facing immigrant children in our communities. Please let us know if you are interested in joining this group of pediatricians and pediatric trainees working to help immigrant children and families.
Thanks for all that you do for children and families in our chapter.
Alice Kuo, MD, FAAP