Harvard Center for the Developing Child Director, Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., presented testimony at a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Feb. 7. For a copy of the testimony that includes a video of his remarks, click here. To view the entire hearing, click here.
A news bulletin from the Center included the following summary of Dr. Shonkoff’s testimony and links to other information of interest on family separation and related topics:
Today, Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., presented testimony at a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The purpose of the hearing was to investigate the response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the family separation policy that was implemented at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018.
Dr. Shonkoff testified about both the trauma that such a forcible separation can cause, as well as the long-term effects of toxic stress that continue to compound until separated children and their parents or caregivers are reunited.
The testimony provides a scientific basis for critically analyzing the effects of, and response to, the family separation policy. As Dr. Shonkoff writes, "From a scientific perspective, the forcible separation of children from their parents is like setting a house on fire. Prolonging that separation is like preventing the first responders from doing their job."
Resources Related to Family Separation
A June 20, 2018 Statement on the separation of families also includes a list of resources on the topic.