Separating kids from parents does irreparable damage, Los Angeles advocate group says

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Thursday, June 21, 2018
Separating kids from parents does lasting harm, advocates say
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Separating children from their parents does irreparable damage, and it's backed by science, advocates say.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Separating children from their parents does irreparable damage, and it's backed by science, advocates say.

"Separating children from their families causes real trauma and toxic stress that is irreparable," said Wende Nichols-Julien, the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Los Angeles, a foster care advocates group for L.A. County.

AUDIO: Migrant children separated from parents wail at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility

Nichols-Julien said the damage caused by separating children from their parents at the border is based on scientific facts.

"It's based on the synapses in the brain and how they work when you talk about how a child relates to their parents and the panic and trauma that it causes when you take a child away from their parents," Nichols-Julien said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he wants to see what's happening firsthand. He, along with a group from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, arrived in Texas on Thursday.

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"The Mayors of America represent all the local communities to show that this is not a partisan issue but this is a human issue, that those of us parents look at these children, listen to these children, recognize this trauma will have ripples that last for generations," Garcetti said.

As for the children who have been separated from their families, they will likely not be brought to Los Angeles. The foster care system in L.A. County is already overwhelmed.

"It's thinking about intentionally causing harm to children and their families that can put them into a system where we can't accommodate them. It's not for a lack of wanting, it's for a lack of capacity," Nichols-Julien said.

Sen. Kamala Harris is expected to visit a detention center in San Diego on Friday.

MORE: How family immigration was handled during past administrations