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We have an ethical responsibility for immigrant children and families

June 22, 2018
by H. Steven Moffic
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I’ve had enough! Even though it is difficult to find out the facts about the separation of immigrant children from their parents along our southwest border, there are certain clinical and ethical principles that we must reaffirm to our colleagues, the public and society.
Clinical concerns
Although there may be several clinical principles to fall back on, perhaps the most basic and time-tested one is the hierarchy of needs put together by the psychologist Abraham Maslow. It consists of a pyramid of five levels of need: physical, security, social, ego, and self-actualization, from bottom to top.
For the children separated from their parents, or even any of the detainees, that means that first of all, adequate air, water, food, rest and health are the basic priorities. Without objective assessment of the holding places, we can’t know for sure if that need is being met.


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H. Steven Moffic

H. Steven Moffic

H. Steven Moffic, M.D. retired from the clinical practice of psychiatry and his tenured...

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