Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Statement on Forced Separation of Immigrant Families

The research is perfectly clear: children require consistent, stable, responsive and supportive relationships with at least one parent or primary caregiver and the trauma of separation has a high potential to lead to serious long-term consequences. These separations are not only traumatizing to the children, but to the parents as well.

The Hartford Foundation has long prioritized strengthening families as central to the healthy growth and development of children and as a critical investment in the future of our region. We are deeply troubled by the actions to separate children from their parents at the U.S. border and the policies and practice that detain entire families in environments detrimental to healthy physical and emotional development. Fundamental to our work has been a focus on protective factors that mitigate against the negative impacts of poverty, inequity, and trauma. The decision by the federal government to separate children from their parents has resulted in hundreds of children experiencing trauma and is unacceptable.

The Foundation also has a longstanding commitment to supporting immigrant needs in the region. Examples include funding and partnerships with legal services programs, family support services at neighborhood-based Family Centers and working with school district leadership to support undocumented students. Our work as a member of the Immigration Strategic Funders Collaborative supports the network of immigration providers in the Hartford region and immigration hub organizations that have the added role of working with all our region's immigrant-serving organizations to coordinate services across our region.

We remain unwavering in our efforts to support families as the cornerstone of our communities. We will continue to monitor new policies that impact those joining our communities from across the globe and the efforts to re-unify and support the children already separated from their families. The Foundation will continue to work with our partners who might serve these displaced children to identify ways that we can be of assistance.

 To learn more about this issue and ways that you can support immigrants and refugees detained at the border and in our region, we suggest the following resources:

CARA – a consortium of the Catholic Immigration Legal Immigration Network, the AMERICAN Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association – provide legal services at the family detention centers.

Child Trends is a national nonprofit research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families. They recently released a publication for providers and community members on how to support children and families traumatized by separation.  


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