June 19, 2018

Families Belong Together

For 30 years, WithinReach has been connecting families to the resources they need to be healthy and safe. We envision a Washington State where all kids and families are growing and thriving. That is what drives us to help families find health care coverage, stay vaccinated, eat nutritious food, and learn about developmental milestones.

However, there are families in Washington right now whose health and safety are in jeopardy. Babies as young as 18 months are being taken from their parents at the border. A mom being held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac has not seen or spoken to her 5-year-old son in a month. Children are being imprisoned. Clearly, this is not in the best interest of the children or their families. As Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD wrote in The Seattle Times last Friday, “the systemic separation of families damages the attachment between child and parent, a bond that is critical for their well-being”. Toxic stress, based on repeated trauma, is strongly associated with diminished health, including mental illness, developmental delays and many chronic health conditions. Research shows that the parent-child bond plays an important role in mitigating the effects of this stress.

We believe that families should not be separated from their children. To paraphrase Dr. Ben Danielson, this year’s Cynthia F. Shurtleff Leadership Award winner, some issues transcend our construct of politics; some issues are not political issues, but moral issues. Separating children from their families is cruel, inhumane, and against our vision of a community where all families are healthy and safe, and have the opportunity to thrive.

Forcibly separating children from their parents is antithetical to our values. We believe that everyone benefits when families stay together.

Learn more: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).