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NH Children's Trust Takes a Stand Against the Separation of Children from Families at the Border

June 20, 2018

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2018—In a letter dated June 18, 2018, New Hampshire Children’s Trust called upon our Governor, Christopher Sununu, to appeal to President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to take steps to ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not separate minor children from their parents indefinitely during the enforcement process, and in so doing preserve the innate and essential bonds between child and parent.

New Hampshire Children’s Trust applauds Governor Sununu’s stance refusing to send the NH National Guard troops to the southern border to separate families. The Governor has been an advocate for children by increasing the marriage age, expanding full-day kindergarten, and increasing child care scholarships. The Governor has also been supportive of New Hampshire Children’s Trust’s parent-centered programs, including cohosting the Unsung Hero Awards which honor parents for demonstrating resiliency in the face of challenges and raising their children in safe, stable, and nurturing environments. At a recent Parent Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, he joined in by saying, “My voice matters because I’m a dad.”

“Our Governor is a family man. His Facebook page is full of photos of children and families,” remarked Executive Director Keryn Bernard-Kriegl. “We are counting on our Governor to be a strong voice calling for an immediate end to the policy and practice of separating children and parents at the border.”

New Hampshire Children’s Trust envisions a New Hampshire where all children grow up free from abuse and neglect. They lead the drive to ensure safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for children by educating, advocating, and collaborating.  A state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, New Hampshire Children’s Trust’s work is informed by the latest science from Center for the Developing Child at Harvard and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy and Crimes Against Children Research Center in promoting the healthy development of children and families. 

In a recent interview with PBS, Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, stressed that “Taking children away from their mothers is harmful to them.”

The Center also advises that “Chronic activation of stress response systems in early childhood, especially without the ongoing presence of a responsive adult, can lead to toxic stress, which disrupts the healthy development of brain architecture. Experiencing toxic stress during these early years can affect learning, behavior, and health throughout the lifespan.” (Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families, 2017.)

“Everything we know about the healthy development of children compels us to take a stand against the separation of children from their parents,” stated Bernard-Kriegl  “If we want to live in a state and country that is safe, thriving, and healthy, we need to do everything we can to support safe, stable, and nurturing family environments for children. We join with Prevent Child Abuse America President & CEO Dan Duffy in calling for ‘an immediate solution that strengthens families, does not separate them, and supports the well-being of all children.’”

Contact: Keryn Bernard-Kriegl, Executive Director New Hampshire Children’s Trust, 603-224-1279 or kbernardkriegl@nhchidlrenstrust.org