June 21, 2018

Center on the Developing Child Statement on Separation of Families

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., Founding Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has released a statement on the impact to healthy development for young children separated from their families at the United States’ border.

Dr. Shonkoff states that based on the available understanding of decades of research, healthy brains develop through consistent, stable, responsive, and supportive relationships with at least one caregiver. He further notes that high and persistent levels of stress can disrupt this brain development as well as other biological systems having severely negative impacts on learning, behavior, and physical and mental health throughout the child’s life. Dr. Shonkoff calls for immediate reunification.

“Stated simply, each day we fail to return these children to their parents, we compound the harm and increase its lifelong consequences.”

To read Dr. Shonkoff’s full statement and for resources related to family separation visit