NAEYC's Statement on #FamiliesBelongTogether
June 26, 2019 - Update
In the past week, our country has learned devastating details about the living conditions of young children being held in custody by our government at the U.S. border. From the onset, NAEYC has stood with our partners in early childhood education and beyond in opposition to the separation of children from their parents. We have relied on decades of research and our code of ethical conduct to respond to this issue—recognizing our collective ethical responsibility to fight against and work to change policies that are “emotionally damaging, physically harmful, disrespectful, degrading, dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children.”
In light of the details about the trauma being inflicted on babies and young children as they are denied even the most basic of necessities, we are building upon our previous statements to restate our opposition to policies harming children and families. We reaffirm our commitment to all children, and to helping them thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. This commitment is why, this past Monday, we endorsed the HELP Separated Children Act and Help Separated Families Act, which was introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard to codify protections for children and help keep immigrant families together.
We recognize the power of our individual and collective voices and ask that you join us as early childhood educators and allies speaking out in support of children and families. Call your members of Congress and ask them to support the HELP Separated Children Act and Help Separated Families Act to:
- ensure parents can make decisions about their children’s care before being detained or deported
- require agents who come into contact with children during enforcement actions receive training to minimize trauma; and
- require child welfare agencies to have protocols in place to help children in the system reunify with detained or deported parents.
Regardless of where you stand on issues of immigration, we implore you to set politics aside. Early childhood educators have a professional obligation to advance the well-being of children, and we must act on that obligation today and always. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to standing up for children and families in your communities, and beyond.
October 26, 2018 - Update
As a NAEYC member and an early childhood educator, we want to share with you some ways to stay informed and continue to advocate for immigrant families and children in your communities and beyond.
June 29, 2018 - Update
Today, dozens of NAEYC Affiliates are proud to join the national organization in calling for a continued and urgent focus on the children who have yet to be reunited with their parents, while advocating for solutions that do not involve incarcerating children. Read their full resolution here, as we collectively encourage our members and partners to join allies across the country tomorrow, Saturday, June 30 for a #FamiliesBelongTogether rally in your community.
June 20, 2018 - Update
This afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order to halt family separations at the U.S. border, responding to enormous pressure from a multitude of individuals and organizations who raised their voices in opposition to actions that caused significant harm to children and families. NAEYC thanks everyone who called, emailed, posted, donated, marched, and otherwise used their individual and collective power to engage with their networks and elected officials. This disastrous and harmful practice should never have been started, but your overwhelming response is part of the reason that it may now be stopped.
We anticipate learning more about what this executive order does and does not do, and how Congress may respond. We are relieved that the particular practice of separating children from their parents may end, but we remain deeply concerned about what has and will happen to the more than 2,000 children who have already been separated from their families, as well as what has and will happen to the families yet to be detained. Family detention also harms children - and indeed, there is an existing court ruling that limits the duration of child detentions, in acknowledgement of the harm they cause to children’s positive growth and development. Trading family separation for family detention is not a solution.
In essence, this is not the end. We ask you to recognize the power of your voice and your actions, and to stay engaged and involved as we move forward to act, on this and the many other issues and opportunities facing our children, families, and educators today and every day. Thank you for all you do.
June 18, 2018
If you are a parent or an early childhood educator, you have already hugged a child this morning. You know the lengths you would go to in order to protect your kids. But you don’t have to be either a parent or an educator to understand that separating children from their families—and putting them in a place where they cannot be hugged, touched, or loved—causes harm. And not the kind of harm that is easily repaired. This is the kind of harm that is significant and long-lasting, interfering with positive child development and well-being.
That is why, as an active member of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, NAEYC is working in partnership with our allies in early childhood education and beyond. On June 7, we joined 540 national and state organizations, including many NAEYC affiliates, in writing a letter to the Department of Homeland Security clearly stating our opposition to actions that are separating children from their parents at the U.S. border. We restate that opposition here. There are no ends that justify these means.
The research is clear, and so are our core values. We have relied on them both to respond to this issue, just as we have relied on them to create the draft of our new position statement on advancing diversity and equity, and the stated obligation to create and advance policy solutions that support child well-being and strengthen the bonds between all children and their families.
To join us in making this obligation real, call your members of Congress right now and ask them to support the Keep Families Together Act—because all children means all children. Thank you for standing with us to say #FamiliesBelongTogether.