Dear Amara community,
As we write this, we are heartbroken about immigrant and refugee children being separated from their families at our nation’s border. Although President Trump has signed an executive order halting the practice, there are thousands of children already impacted. As an organization that supports children in foster care, we know all too well the trauma caused by separating families. We cannot stand by and watch while thousands of children are being systemically removed from their parents’ care – an incomparably traumatizing experience that will affect them their entire lives.
There are more than 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents after entering this country: the breastfeeding baby who has no idea why her mother is not there to feed her; the toddler desperate for a comforting hug from his father after a nightmare; the older children and teens caged-in, suffering the emotional trauma of being incarcerated. This is a crisis for our country, and it’s one with vulnerable children who need our help, at the center of it all.
Every child, regardless of their circumstance, has an inalienable right to the love and support of family. Amara has been caring for our community’s most vulnerable children here in Washington State for almost 100 years. As a mission-driven organization that supports children in foster care, we know that every child needs a stable, loving family to realize their full potential. We also know that when children are separated from their parents, even under the most careful and thoughtful of circumstance, they are traumatized.
We know about the trauma of separation because we’ve seen it before, in our own communities, not just at our nation’s southern border. There are currently almost 9,000 children in foster care in Washington State. Each of these children suffers serious consequences from being removed from their families even if they are eventually reunified with them safely. That’s why Amara and so many of our tireless child advocates throughout Washington state work to mitigate that trauma for children: we create loving, safe, stable spaces for children first entering foster care; we support birth families, and prepare foster families and – through it all – we prioritize children’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
Children need the safety and security of a stable family in order to develop and grow up to be healthy, secure adults. We cannot stand by while thousands of children in our own state are in need of love and support after being separated from their parents and we most certainly will not stand by while thousands more children entering our country are met with a similar fate.
Our colleagues and partners working in child welfare and juvenile justice across the country are speaking out about this crisis, as well. We encourage our community to stay up to date on what’s happening locally and nationally via updates from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. We believe, together, we can ensure that all children are safe and loved.
With gratitude for all you do for children,
Amara Staff and Board