Dr. Colleen Kraft, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan Monday that the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their families at the border is nothing short of abusive.
Bolduan began by asking Kraft to confirm that workers at the detention centers are not allowed to pick up or hug distressed children, which she confirmed.
Kraft then explained that children who do not receive physical consolation when they’re upset develop a condition called “toxic stress,” which is an “elevation of your fight and flight hormones that normally keep you out of danger.”
“In this situation they remain high and it inhibits the development of their brains,” she said. “It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have.”
“I can’t describe to you the room I was in with these toddlers,” Kraft continued. “Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. And we had this one child just screaming and crying, and the others were really silent. And this is not normal activity or brain development with these children.”
“These children need their parents. If we’re going to first do no harm, we’re going to keep these parents and children together,” she added.
Bolduan asked whether Kraft still believes, as she told CBS News earlier Monday, that the Trump administration’s policy is child abuse.
“This does amount to child abuse,” Kraft affirmed. “These children have been traumatized on their trip up to the border and the first thing that happens is we take away the one constant in their life that helps them buffer all these horrible experiences. That’s child abuse.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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