Parents are a child’s first teacher and children’s earliest years are critical for their lifelong development, well-being and mental health. The earliest years of life represent the most sensitive and rapid period of brain growth and development.  

Housman Institute stands together with Infant Mental Health Professionals in Massachusetts who are critically concerned and deeply opposed to the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice current practice of separating migrant and asylum-seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border. The separation of children from their parents at the U.S. border inflicts not only an unnecessary break in this protective bond and risks the mental and physical health of these children now, and as they grow up, but can exacerbate or compound pre-migration traumatic stressors in the child and the parent. These practices amount to what is defined as adverse childhood experiences, or “toxic stress” and can have longstanding negative effects upon a child’s brain development and readiness for society. 

We invite you to read this important statement by Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health, Birth to Six, for which Housman Institute founder Dr. Donna Housman is treasurer and serves on the board.