Standing for children and families

As a nation, we have confronted head-on a tragedy that transcends politics: our federal government’s decision to separate more than 2,000 children, including babies, from their parents at our southern border. Weeks after implementing this inhumane policy, the President signed an executive order today stating that newly-arrived families would not be separated “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” This new order, however, still leaves room for the separation of families at the discretion of government officials. Moreover, it also gives the federal government the power to detain families indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the fate of those already torn apart remains unknown.

We all know the research that shows the lifelong mental and physical health consequences of childhood trauma. But, in truth, we do not need science to tell us that families belong together. This is especially true for children who have already endured abrupt dislocation and a long, hazardous journey to our border, where their only constant was the parent who guided, cared for, and comforted them.

Executive Dow Constantine along with other elected officials throughout Washington State have condemned this ongoing humanitarian crisis. Best Starts for Kids commits to standing with our communities and raising our voices to protect all families. We must remain vigilant to ensure that all families are reunited and that all immigrants who come to us fleeing violence and terror are treated with basic human dignity.

These are our children. These are our families. This is our country.

7 thoughts on “Standing for children and families

  1. While it is tragic, it does not outweigh or outnumber the Black children in America, as citizens, who are/have been abruptly and often violently separated from their parents through MOST of the institutions NOT concerned with the border, but which intersect with government: like CPS, foster care, juvenile, prison and–given the disproportionate discipline received for the level of vulnerable separation from parents–public schools. Why don’t you condemn THAT as readily and move mountains to change it (given that the origin of the harms you listed above are mostly and historically in America upon the bodies of young Black children almost solely in aggregate; your evidence for generations). I’d like to see American cities get this right first, while simultaneously supporting reform that does not separate foreign visitors from their kids, detain other humans for simply arriving at the border, or stigmatizing all Latino Americans as ‘foreign’ simply because they speak Spanish. On every count, the harm lies at the feet of governance and its cultural decisions about other peoples’ children.

    • Thank you for your comments, Diane. We agree with you that what is happening at the border now is a reflection of policies and practices within many of this country’s institutions and systems that separate children from their families.

      What we have seen in the past weeks is a stark reminder of our country’s history of cruelty and violence against families – a history that includes African American parents and children separated on slave auction blocks, Indigenous children kidnapped and placed in “boarding schools” with the aim to erase Native cultures and languages, and Japanese American families relocated and imprisoned during World War II. We recognize that the consequences of the trauma and suffering experienced still reverberate in our communities today. An ongoing epidemic of family separation continues, disproportionately targeting Black children and families, other communities of color, and people living in poverty.

      We not only condemn this, we are indeed committed to moving mountains to change this – Best Starts itself is a movement towards doing just that. We are also committed to calling it out everywhere we see it, for all children and families – “citizen” or not, deeply embedded in our communities and country, or at our borders.

  2. This is much too political a statement. You need people to vote for this in the future and making it partisan will not help.

    • Thank you for your comment. As many of our elected officials and community leaders have pointed out, policies and practices that harm children transcend partisan politics. Best Starts for Kids is founded on a vision of healthy, happy, safe, and thriving kids and young people. Policies and practices which harm children and families—both in our immigration system and within many of this country’s institutions and systems that separate children from their families—stand in direct opposition to our vision. The separation of children from their parents impacts children, families, and communities in King County. We are committed to standing with all families here in King County, deeply embedded in our communities and country, or at our borders, and to upholding King County’s pledge to be a safe, welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.

  3. Whether or not I agree with you on the substance of this post, this is off topic for a program meant to help king county children.

    I voted for best starts but I don’t support this.

    • Thank you for your comment, and for supporting Best Starts for Kids. As many of our elected officials and community leaders have pointed out, policies and practices that harm children transcend partisan politics. Best Starts for Kids is founded on a vision of healthy, happy, safe, and thriving kids and young people. Policies and practices which harm children and families—both in our immigration system and within many of this country’s institutions and systems that separate children from their families—stand in direct opposition to our vision. The separation of children from their parents impacts children, families, and communities in King County. We are committed to standing with all families here in King County, deeply embedded in our communities and country, or at our borders, and to upholding King County’s pledge to be a safe, welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.

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