Health Forward Foundation

Health Forward responds to family separation and detention border policies

Syria, Greece, Europe, Turkey, Refugee Children

Our focus at Health Forward has always been to advocate for the health of those in our community who are most in need. It was a promise we made at the inception of the organization in 2003.

It is not only our obligation to do this, but our privilege.

Over the years, we have supported clean air policies, walking trails, and access to healthy food. We have amplified concerns about the lack of mental health services in our communities and schools, and we have spoken in favor of Medicaid expansion that would help so many deserving folks in both Kansas and Missouri.

These policies and our grants often benefit the community at large; walking trails, clean air, and mental health services do not come with a disclaimer that they are for one specific group alone.

We have supported the work of local partner organizations that help immigrant and refugee populations in our region. They help people navigate our complex health system, they offer translators, and mental health services, and support in endless ways.

Today, however, we are speaking out in support of one particular group. We have joined foundations from around the country in support of children and families seeking refuge in the United States.

More than 130 organizations — and that number grows every day — have signed a statement issued by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR):

“We, the undersigned, stand united in our belief that separating families, as well as detaining them together indefinitely, is morally unacceptable and traumatic for parents and children. We have a collective responsibility to act with compassion when responding to the needs of those who come to our country seeking protection.”

We are deeply distressed by the trauma these families and especially the children are experiencing at our borders. Indeed, these children and their parents already arrive in a state of incredible stress from the journey and whatever horrors they are fleeing.

The fear and subsequent separations and detentions at our borders affect deeply the children and families. Through our work, we know that adverse childhood experiences and the accumulation of stresses shapes brains and affects the health of people for a lifetime.

Though we are buffered from our closest borders by two states, the trauma of separation and detention also impacts our local community. It places extra stress on those who are caring for refugees and those providing foster accommodations. It creates an aura of uncertainty for local hard-working, immigrant families, making them afraid and vulnerable.

We have supported the work of local partner organizations that help immigrant and refugee populations in our region. They help people navigate our complex health system, they offer translators, and mental health services, and support in endless ways.

They are doing important work that betters the whole community by welcoming these newcomers into our neighborhoods.

Our regional model of welcome should be mirrored at our borders, not the current situation that negatively affects the health of young minds. We will continue to work hard to support a model of health — one of mind, body, and spirit — that we as a nation can be proud of.

As the GCIR statement says, together, we stand firm in shared values of fairness, compassion, and family integrity that underpin our work in philanthropy and our very identity as a nation.

Read the full statement.


One thought on “Health Forward responds to family separation and detention border policies

    We would love to talk to you about a new project in Kansas City called the Deportation Defense Legal Network. We are training non-immigration attorneys to handle bond cases for detained immigrants. The faster an immigrant can get out of ICE detention, the faster they are reunited with their children and the better chance they have at fighting their case. More information can be found at http://www.ddlnkc.org.

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Health Forward's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City MO 64108
(816) 241-7006