Apr 30, 2018; Tijuana, MEXICO; Central American migrant children camped outside the entrance of the San Ysidro port of entry. Locals and other humanitarian organization bring the blanket, clothing, and food after being turned away Sunday by U.S. Customs a

(Photo credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA Today Network)

Children Could Suffer Psychological Trauma From Being Separated From Migrant Parents

Melissa Culross
June 25, 2018 - 10:41 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) - About 2,000 migrant children taken into custody at the U.S. Southern Border remain separated from their parents. As KCBS Radio's Melissa Culross reports, these kids, even those who are very young...could suffer psychologically as a result of their ordeal.

The migrant children separated from their families under the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy in recent weeks could have any number of reactions to that separation.

"They're in a new place, different language, they perhaps gone through a journey that's been arduous and also perhaps scary. And then all of a sudden, their parents disappears. That could really affect the degree to which they might trust their parent."

Chandra Ghosh Ippen is associate director of the child trauma research program at UCSF, and she says that even after the migrant kids are reunited with their parents, they'll need to be comforted and reassured. How can that be done?

"Good things are offered. Music, stories, being able to be connected to people that you love. Being able to have a return to normal routine, if that's possible."

Ippen adds. "Without a return to their family, and to be able to have help and support from loving family members and from potentially from therapists or other providers, we likely, will see a lot of children who will have on going symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder."

That care and support should continue, even after they reunited with their families.

"These are children who, their alarm bells are going off." Ippen said. "As we are helping them feel safe, we have to help them calm down. We have to think about emotion regulation."

Other experts suggest that the separation ordeal could have a physical effect on children's brains.

President Trump signed an executive order last week stopping the separation of migrant children from their families.