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Rachel McGonagill @RachelMcGonagi1
, 25 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Families with children and unaccompanied minors account for 40 percent of those detained by U.S. border agents, Sen Heitkamp says. Kids separated from their parents. Warehoused. On military bases.

With training in child dev. & psych, I give you:
2) Separating children from their parents is one of the most traumatic things you can do to a child, even when the child has had a safe and secure upbringing where there's been little violence or privation. Separating even for a short time has a cute name: Separation Anxiety.
3) SA is a normal stage in young childhood development, and usually ends by age 2. It's characterized by clinginess when the parent IS available, and fear of the parent leaving so much so that they refuse to sleep or let the parent leave the room without them.
4) If SA continues past age 2, is can interfere w/life in all sorts of ways, especially if the parent or guardian is missing for an extended period. These children can experience excessive fears for their own safety, and their parents', difficulty sleeping, depression, inability
5) to concentrate, nightmares, and physical symptoms such as recurring headaches and nausea and vomiting.

Treatment for Separation Anxiety involves making the child feel safe, and preparing well for separations. How well is that going to happen on a military base? For children
6) whose life experiences already include extreme violence in their homelands? Who have been forcibly removed from the custody of their parents?

These questions raise others about the nature of these warehouses and the staffing therein.
7) Are there counselors for the children? They will need them in abundance, for these are traumatized children, 1st by the land of their birth, and 2nd by the land they thought to be sanctuary. These counselors should be childhood trauma specialists, in particular.
8) What kind of organization will be available for the children, in terms of educational and physical opportunities? Will there be teachers of all levels, bi-lingual (at least) to help these kids for the year or two they're stuck in these warehouses? Will they have room for
9) classrooms? What about room for outdoor activities, games and exercise? Will the children be housed by age, by gender, both? Will there be constant supervision, 1 adult for each # of children, based on local requirements for daycare settings? In Texas, frex, the ratio of
10) adult:child for ages 0-11mos is 1:4, but at 3years old it's 1:15.

Will they have toys and manipulatives and scissors and arts & crafts for finite motor skills, and climbing equipment and sandboxes and soccer balls and swing sets for gross motor skills?
11) Will they have the same caregivers assigned to them each day so they can form attachments?

Some will claim it'd be good if the children did NOT form any attachment to whoever is paid to take care of them, since it's going to be temporary, and won't that child be sad when
12) their caregiver is gone.

Those people are dumb.

Children who are warehoused, who are not shown kindness, who are not hugged and sung to, and who do not have the same, recognizable person caring for them, especially traumatized children, can develop RAD:
13) Reactive Attachment Disorder. The Mayo Clinic has this to say about it:

"Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child doesn't establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers."
More Mayo:

"Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established."…
15) Last of the Mayo?

"[some] children and teenagers with reactive attachment disorder may display callous, unemotional traits that can include behavior problems and cruelty toward people or animals."

RAD children may have little empathy. They can be violent. They find it
16) difficult to learn from mistakes. They can have learning & developmental delays.

And the risk factors for developing RAD? One of them is placement in warehouse-like orphanages, such as they have had in China, Russia, Romania.…
Of course, it's not just RAD and SA these children have to worry about, but also PTSD. Who knows what lives they left, or even what happened on the road to get to the US. Are there therapists who will help them unlock this pain?
These children may also be malnourished, underdeveloped, and could have medical problems as a result, or just because. What kind of medical attention will these warehoused children receive? Will their parents be notified, or given the option to refuse treatment for their child?
19) And then there are the dangers lurking in a large facility full of kids, where there is NOT likely to be enough staff, or if there is, but it's not GOOD staff, and 1 or 10 or 100 children are abused, used or stolen for sex trafficking right out from under the military's nose.
20) Just like almost 1500 immigrant kids went missing from DHS "foster homes" last year. No one knows where they are, or if they'll ever be seen again.

All in all, this "warehouse the kids on military bases" scheme sounds really really fraught, and I'm very much against it.
21) It benefits no one--especially not the thousands of children involved--to take these kids from their parents at this crucial time of their lives. It's cruel, inhumane and will do irreparable damage to the children, physically and emotionally. But this is where we are now.
Addendum: turns out, some of those ~1500 kids were, in fact, trafficked: "As FRONTLINE examined in the recent documentary Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers."…
🚨Clarification: the children picked up by the FRONTLINE report we're NOT part of the ~1500 now missing children, but were found in 2014.

We do NOT know if ANY of the missing children were trafficked at all.
One way to help these now "unaccompanied" immigrant children is to provide legal representation. Since the trump administration has decided to cut funding for that, this organization is stepping up to fill the void.

Consider donating, if you can:…
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