Applying Child Development Research to Immigration Policy

Research BriefNov 20 2018

Research evidence shows that children thrive within safe, nurturing, stable, and predictable environments. For decades, this knowledge has underpinned several federal policies and programs that support family cohesion, stability, and children’s access to enriching environments. These include long-standing initiatives such as the Healthy Marriage & Responsible Fatherhood and Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

This foundational child development research can also guide ongoing national conversations about changes to immigration policy and the impact on families. In this brief, we outline how research on child development, neuroscience, and trauma can inform federal policy regarding the treatment of children and their families arriving at our nation’s border.