A Bloomington-Normal child trauma expert says the mental and emotional scars that thousands of young children are facing as they are being separated from their families at the southern U.S. border will take time and effort to heal.
“Absolutely there are ways to mitigate the trauma. There are ways to help the child heal,” said Lisa Pieper, regional vice president of Children's Home and Aid in Bloomington. “Will the child be impacted? Yes. Do does that mean doom and gloom forever? No.”
Pieper said younger children often have a tougher time with traumatic experiences because they can't process what's happening or communicate their needs. “It’s really hard for kids, even kids who are in kindergarten or primary grades,” Pieper said on GLT's Sound Ideas.
“You can say tomorrow or next week or in two weeks or how many days and they just know that they person that they love isn’t there right then and there," she said.
Pieper said it's important to change a child's environment as little as possible to limit emotional trauma, such as letting them keep a favorite blanket.
Pieper added she hopes child service agencies along the border are providing support for those separated children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics president has described the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy separating migrant families as child abuse.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.