The oral testimony of Professor Jack Shonkoff at a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Good afternoon. Chair DeGette and Ranking Member Guthrie, thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today.
My name is Jack Shonkoff. I am Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Graduate School of Education, and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. I am a pediatrician by training and my work is focused on early life influences on learning, behavior, and health
My testimony today is based on strong scientific consensus supported by decades of peer-reviewed research. Sudden, forcible separation of children from their parents is deeply traumatic for both the child and the parent. Above and beyond the distress we see “on the outside,” this triggers a massive biological stress response “inside” the child, which remains activated until the parent returns and provides comfort. Continuing separation removes the most important protection a child can possibly have to prevent long-term damage — a loving adult who’s totally devoted to his or her well-being. ...