Category Archives: Community Blog

Community Blog

Integrating Academic Learning with Service Learning in an Undergraduate Class

By Katelyn Malvese, Lola Nedic, & Sarah Scharlin Ben-Hamoo

“Resilience in Development”, CSHD 67, taught by Professor Ann Easterbrooks highlights the capacity of individuals and families to thrive in the context of adversity. Professor Easterbrooks emphasizes the importance of support networks and community resources as building blocks in fostering resilience among children, youth, and families. As part of the course, students do 20 hours of service learning in community organizations. An important feature of this requirement is to connect the volunteer experiences to the framework and principles of the course. 

Food Insecurity:

Four students in the class volunteered to tackle food insecurity in the Boston area. They worked with the “Just Eats” program, which is a part of Food for Free, an organization that provides food for local communities, or with “Building Audacity”. Food for Free, for example, partners with local grocery stores to acquire fresh, unsold food, eliminating food waste and providing food to families. Volunteers package 2000-3000 boxes of food each week. Students working with Food for Free and Building Audacity noted that food security is incredibly important in fostering resilience. They all noted that their work with organizations that limit food waste and provide food to those in need was extremely fulfilling personally.

Research and Outreach: 

Other students worked behind the scenes of programs that foster resilience. Some worked with UU Urban Ministry (UUUM), based in Roxbury and grounded in a social justice framework. Their programs include Roxbury Youth Programs, an after-school program for youth; Renewal House, a home and shelter for families who are survivors of domestic violence; United Souls, a program supporting men facing re-entry and other issues within urban life; and Stand High/Stand United, a program for elementary school-aged children. Together, the Tufts students produced a logic model and survey to gauge where the programs are thriving and where they can improve, and they presented their work to the organization’s board. In one semester, these students worked to create a lasting impact on UUUM’s programs, and the hundreds of people who benefit from them. 

Several students worked with organizations promoting health and wellness. One volunteered with Peer Health Exchange (PHE), a national organization that educates high schoolers about mental and sexual health, and substance abuse; topics that are often neglected in high school curriculums. Despite the many challenges that arise when trying to connect with youth via a virtual format during a pandemic, the program connects with students to discuss the importance of mental health as a protective factor to students in promoting resilience. Other students worked with the HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) Project, a program at Tufts University School of Medicine that highlights the power of positive childhood experiences in fostering resilience. These students worked on a CDC-sponsored study of the effects of Covid-19 on American households, trying to understand what helped foster resilience during the pandemic. 

Another student worked with MassVote to foster resilience in the Black community. The organization focuses on voter suppression. For example, a current project is offering to help people register to vote at COVID vaccination sites. This has created trust between the community, the medical community, and in the voting process. 

Finally, another pair of students worked with a boy studying for his Bar Mitzvah who, because of severe learning disabilities, struggled to learn in a typical Hebrew school setting.  The synagogue, with the help of these two students, has provided him a safe space to learn and grow, and build confidence despite many family adversities. This is a reciprocal experience of resilience development, since their tutoring has helped him build learning skills and confidence in his abilities, and his hard work and growth has provided personal growth for these two students.  


Students were given the opportunity to learn about resilience in local communities, which has given them additional insight into the course curriculum.  While some service focused on fostering resilience in individuals, others looked more broadly at the entire community.  On every scale, focusing on a resilience model as opposed to a deficit model is beneficial. These programs were able to help communities both directly and indirectly, by giving them essential resources, building confidence, or empowering people to fight against racist systems. This experience has given the students the opportunity to grow as individuals, and to foster resilience within themselves and our communities, regardless of limitations put on by a global pandemic.

Katelyn Malvese (left), Lola Nedic (center), & Sarah Scharlin Ben-Hamoo (right) are undergraduates at Tufts University.

Community Blog

Promoting Equity for Autistic Children and Teens during Covid

By Leah Kirsch and Abby Donaghue

Since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law in 1975, children with disabilities have been guaranteed access to a free and appropriate public education. This policy was a historical breakthrough in the rights of disabled and neurodivergent Americans, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), quite literally opening the door to public schools for disabled students. For most affected students, IDEA is enforced by providing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) guaranteeing service access and curriculum accommodations.

Under the circumstances of COVID-19, special education programs governed by IDEA have faced unforeseen challenges in adapting to remote learning. Online education was never considered when IDEA was written, and no amendment since has addressed this learning environment. Many of the services and accommodations guaranteed in students’ IEPs have subsequently been rendered inaccessible. While some services are weakened in a virtual format, others are impossible to provide or assess online. This is especially true of the social opportunities that are crucial to developing social and communicative skills for autistic students. 

The transition into remote learning has also brought with it immense stress for youth with ASD and their families. The disruption in daily routines has been significantly distressing, as the consistency and structure that many autistic individuals thrive with have been largely lost. Parents have been tasked with recreating these routines while also taking on the role of teacher, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, counselor, and more. It’s an enormous challenge for many families to provide these services – without training –  while balancing parenting and work responsibilities. Hardest hit have been low-income households, which are disproportionately families of color that have taken on the brunt of the economic burden from the pandemic. Parents performing underpaid essential work don’t have the opportunity to care for their children while working from home. Non-English speaking parents face additional barriers to providing these services to their children, as they can’t provide the instruction typical of English-speaking schools.

We also recognize that schools aren’t entirely to blame for the hardships families have been facing. In-person activities have been halted for the safety of everyone involved, and teachers are being stretched incredibly thin trying to adapt to entirely new instructional modalities. Still, there is room for more to be done to help autistic students and their families. 

At the Crehan Lab, we are currently conducting a study on IEP satisfaction and equity across racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. Schools have the opportunity to learn so much from families’ experiences with remote learning: what worked, what didn’t, and ideas for moving forward. Yet all too often, parent concerns aren’t addressed in their child’s IEP objectives. As we leave remote learning behind, it’s crucial that schools listen to parent perspectives and take the necessary steps to support students through the transition back to in-person learning. For more information on best supporting children with ASD in returning to school, check out the following resources: 

Indiana Resource Center for Autism      

UC Davis News Room

Leah Kirsch (left) and Abby Donaghue (right) are undergraduate research assistants at the Crehan Lab, studying social development and access to resources in the context of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Abby is a sophomore double majoring in Biopsychology and Child Study & Human Development. Leah is a junior double majoring in Cognitive & Brain Science and Child Study & Human Development. 

Community Blog

Unconditional Positive Regard

By Emily H. Carroll

I don’t believe in the concept of a bad child.  As a therapeutic mentor, I met children who set fires, physically and emotionally harmed others, ran away, and struggled with honesty, and not one bad apple graced my presence. One client, Joey*, attempted to steal a fidget spinner during our session. His hands fumbled with the small, precious gadget, attempting to conceal it in his wadded-up jacket.  Judy* threatened to fatally harm another child. In my work with Joey, Judy, and children more generally, I often consider the notion of unconditional positive regard and I have come to believe that such acceptance holds a special kind of power to build and transform.

Unconditional positive regard is that feeling you get around someone with whom you feel safe to just be.  This person could witness you in your most selfish moment and they would still look at you with kind, unassuming eyes, even as they hold you accountable.  It may sound ironic that a child lighting fires around the house needs some loving energy, but when we consider what we teach a person when we blast them with shame and withhold our love, we find that we are punishing one kind of violence with another kind of violence, passing on the plague of hurt. 

In the face of unsafe behavior, fear, anger, sadness, and disgust serve as natural, protective human responses. Too often, however, we let this warranted emotional response simmer and morph into vilification of the person, or in this case, child, who does harm.  I believe that the process of labeling a child bad and wrong nurtures the roots of violence. When we see a child as a monster, even if unconsciously or subtly, we close a door to effective connection, change, and growth. We miss an opportunity to understand the pain fueling the behavior.   

I have found that connecting to and validating the child’s pain, as well as seeing them with eyes that mirror their goodness, has opened up powerful doors to positive therapeutic work.  I set my intention upon adding and modeling positive connection and empathy to the child as opposed to defining them by the actions I don’t agree with. I endeavor to show up to each newfound delight, disappointment, and fear as an attentive, warm witness. “I see you, I hear you,” I say with my body, face, words, voice, and actions. With Joey, it became about witnessing and validating the injustice of some kids having more than others. For Judy, I validated the theme of double standards and desire for interpersonal connection. When I create accepting space for a child’s feelings, I nourish their own ability to hold themselves in positive regard.     

Even saying “no,” or perhaps especially saying “no” serves as an important opportunity to teach a child that a limit can exist alongside positive regard. For Judy, validating her anger came with the important caveat that hurting others doesn’t help. Limits and boundaries can become a means of expressing care and valuing wellbeing, as opposed to a means of exerting power and control. When I remember to maintain this mindset, the work becomes seamless and growth takes hold.    

Never underestimate the power of unconditional positive regard. We can model a different way of being, a different way of responding to pain that pumps the breaks on violence. An adult’s welcoming presence and shame-free limit-setting can lay the foundation for a child to grow their own internal source of acceptance. Ironically, acceptance can serve as the catalyst for change.    

*Names and identifying information have been altered to protect the client’s confidentiality.

I gain a great deal of daily inspiration and influence from Sarah Blondin’s work and I love to spread her magic. Find her meditations on her podcast, “Live Awake,” or the app, “Insight Timer.” She also has a book called “Heart Minded, How to Hold Yourself and Others in Love.”

Emily earned her BA in Child Study and Human Development from Eliot-Pearson in 2018 and since then, she has worked as a nanny, therapeutic mentor, and in-home therapy team member. Emily will begin a Master of Social Work degree in September, 2021 at Boston College.  

Community Blog

I Wish I Were Light Skinned Like You: Colorism in the U.S. and Latin America 

By Keshia Harris, Ph.D.

Have you ever wished you were another color or race? Have you ever wished more people found you attractive or that you didn’t have to fight so hard to be valued by society? First, I want to say, this is normal. Second, I want to assure you that you can have this thought at some point in your life and STILL develop a profound sense of pride in your race and skin color. 

If colorism is a concept that is completely foreign to you or not at all a part of your social experience, I’ll take the liberty to explain. 

Colorism in the U.S.

During my master’s degree training in mental health counseling at Columbia University Teachers College, I interned as a youth development counselor at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). I’ll always remember the words of my 6th grade client, “I wish I were light skinned like you”. A gorgeous Jamaican American girl with espresso brown skin and thick curly hair, she longed so much to be as popular as her Dominican American friends with light brown skin and hair down their backs. 

I was shocked by her comment. As the darkest woman in my household and often the darkest person in my friend groups, I was keenly aware of where I fell on the skin color spectrum. No one, and I mean NO ONE, had ever referred to me as light skinned. 

My next reaction was deep remorse. How was it that such a majestic young queen could possibly see herself as ugly? Through introspective beauty activities such as having my client identify all of the Black female celebrities she admired (Beyoncé, Rihanna, etc.), we realized that she didn’t actually see me as light skinned. Rather, she saw me as pretty. In one of our final sessions, I put my arm next to hers so she could see the similarities in our skin tone. 

Colorism in Brazil and Colombia 

Unfortunately, the effects of colorism determine the life outcomes of communities of color far beyond popularity and far beyond our borders. My experience with the 6th grade student along with teaching English in Latin America inspired me to pursue doctoral research on colorism in educational outcomes of Black and Indigenous adolescents in Brazil and Colombia.  From 2014-2017, I studied how socioeconomic status, experiences of discrimination, and postsecondary goals varied by skin tone for high school seniors in Salvador, Brazil and Cartagena, Colombia. I wasn’t surprised to find that participants of darker skin tones reported the lowest socioeconomic status and the highest rates of discrimination.  On the other hand, postsecondary goals did not vary by skin tone.  

In other words, there were no differences in academic aspirations between light, medium, and dark skinned adolescents.  Oftentimes, researchers and policymakers place the blame of achievement and socioeconomic gaps on the individual.  However, the experiences of these young people clearly illustrate the atrocities of systemic inequalities, providing insight into differential life outcomes based on the lightness or darkness of one’s skin. Their voices speak to the reality that everyone should have a fair opportunity regardless of skin color.

Keshia L. Harris, Ph.D. is a research scientist at the Center on the Ecology of Early Development (CEED) at Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.  In March 2021, Dr. Harris presented her lecture titled, A social Justice Approach to Colorism in Education for Professor Richard Lerner’s Positive Youth Development and Social Justice Series at Tufts University Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. 

Community Blog

Pharmacies’ Time to Mitigate Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children is Long Overdue

By Lily McIntyre, Lisvette Batista, Julian Balkcom, Ilona Eaton, Lily Kurtz, Michelle Liu, Lily McIntyre, and Olivia Smith

Approximately 8,986 children and adolescents died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2016, and these numbers are growing (Devitt). Opioid strength has increased immensely in recent years in drugs such as codeine and methadone, yet pharmacies still sell these opioids without visibly displaying child-safe cabinet locks. Well-known pharmacies like CVS and Rite-Aid take a controversial stance against tobacco products by not selling them, yet these same pharmacies won’t stand for the safety of young children by visibly selling these locks.

More and more children accidentally ingest medication partly because prescription bottles are “child-resistant,” which means that “the packaging meets a standard that requires it to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open within a reasonable time, and not difficult for normal adults to use properly” (Safe Kids Worldwide). However, resistant packaging is insufficient, as a recent study found that children aged three to five could open child-resistant bottles in seconds (Safe Kids Worldwide). According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, a package is deemed “child-resistant” as long as 80% of children are unable to open the package in 5 minutes (Fitzwater). Therefore, a package labeled “child-resistant” can still be opened by about 20% of children.

In addition to the ineffectiveness of child-resistant bottles, parents are not implementing safe storage practices. In a study conducted with 681 households, in which a guardian using prescription opioids lived with children under seven, only 32.6% of adults self-reported using safe storage practices (McDonald et al).  Some parents falsely assume that their young children know to stay away from prescription medicine; as a result, one third of parents believe that safely storing their drugs does not matter as long as their children are supervised (Safe Kids Worldwide). Cabinet locks provide a much safer solution: they require a lock combination or a key to open, making it more difficult for a child to access prescriptions.

How can parents lock up opioids when there are no drawer locks being openly sold at the counter of pharmacies? Massachusetts state law requires pharmacies to display a sign near the counter telling customers that locks are sold; however, the signs only need to be four by five inches in size (Massachusetts). Because of the signs’ diminutive size, individuals are virtually unaware that these locks are available in their local pharmacies.

Pharmacies must offer simple safety options for parents, guardians, and all prescription users, especially given that prior testing has proven that “child-resistant” bottles are not effective enough to keep children safe from accidental ingestion. Moving forward, pharmacies must sell child safety locks at a visible location at the counter. While education about safe storage of opioids is important, it is insufficient without making these locks accessible to the public. Pharmacies can take simple measures to save many innocent children. The time for pharmacies to mitigate their effects of the opioid crisis is long overdue. Our children’s lives are at stake.


Devitt, Michael. “New Research Finds Rise in Pediatric Deaths From Opioids.” American Academy of Family Physicians. 18 Jan. 2019,

Fitzwater, Travis. “Child-Resistant Is Not Child-Proof.” The Missouri Pharmacy Blog, 14 Oct. 2009,

“Massachusetts Legislature Homepage.” The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

McDonald, Eileen M., et al. “Safe Storage of Opioid Pain Relievers Among Adults Living in Households With Children.” American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 139, no. 3, Mar. 2017, p. e20162161., doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2161.

Safe Kids Worldwide. “Safe Medicine Storage: Recent Trends and Insights for Families and Health Educators.” 2018. PDF File.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Pharmacists: On The Front Lines.

This blog was written by Lily McIntyre, Lisvette Batista, Julian Balkcom, Ilona Eaton, Lily Kurtz, Michelle Liu, Lily McIntyre, and Olivia Smith; they were students last year in a CSHD course, Physical and Mental Health in Childhood.
Community Blog

E-P Grad Student Helps Create Michigan Policy for COVID-19 Education

By Melissa Lovitz

This summer I worked at Michigan State University (MSU) at the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) Lab. In April, the Michigan Department of Education asked EPIC to help them understand how Michigan districts planned to continue educating students as school buildings closed due to COVID-19. To do so, our research team obtained and coded Continuity of Learning (COL) plans from 813 Michigan school district put in place for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year to address how school districts would function with the suspension of face-to-face instruction. I had several responsibilities including developing a coding rubric and creating a codebook for the data collection team, monitoring data collection progress, and interpreting the results. We wrote up our findings in policy brief to share with Michigan education partners and education researchers. To me, this is a great example of 21st Century research. We responded to a real world, practice-related issue, developed a research study to answer critical questions about how Michigan school districts planned to educate students during Covid-19, and created a resource for policymakers to help inform decisions for the 2020-2021 school year. You can read the policy brief here:

About the Author: Melissa Lovitz is an E-P doctoral student and a Research Analyst at the Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER) group. Melissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. At Tufts, she studies parent-child relationships, family engagement across students’ educational trajectory, and parental role construction in the contexts of early childhood education and development.

Community Blog

Managing During a Pandemic: Resources for Families

With schools in many states closing through the end of the academic year, stress is at an all-time high for many caregivers as they navigate their own remote work schedules with homeschooling and caring for their families. To help support parents and educators in need, students in the Assessment of Children course at Eliot-Pearson created a series of informational videos to share with families on ways to manage effectively care for young children during the pandemic.

Creator: Li Yin Cheok

Description: If you are having trouble distinguishing between facts and fake news, this video might help! It will show you some steps you can take to ensure the sources of information you find on the internet are trustworthy and relevant to you.

Creators: Sara Dionisio and Twinkle Suthar

Description: During these uncertain times, it can feel overwhelming as parents of young children, but we just wanted to let you all know that you are not alone in this and that you are all doing amazing! Here are some activity ideas from our families to your families!

Creators: Deyun Gong and Xihan Yang

Description: This video offers some suggestions to parents whose children are toddlers and preschoolers on how to plan a virtual playdate.

Creator: Jessica Rocha

Description: Given this uncertain time, this video is meant to reassure and validate parents that it is okay to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Parents are being asked to juggle a lot of different roles right now and wearing so many new hats at once can coincide with feelings of failure, inadequacy and frustration. It is okay if every day is not productive or the perfect balance of homeschooling, working from home, and parenting. The best way that we can support children through this pandemic, is by making sure that we are supporting parents.

Creators: Rachel Viselman and Nicole Zolli

Description: This video is intended to provide parents of children with ADHD a variety of disorder-specific resources to support them in teaching their children about COVID-19. These resources include (1) evidence-based communication techniques and (2) engaging, physical activities to explain the science and psychosocial implications of COVID-19. We hope that these resources, especially the activities, engage children with ADHD, lessen their anxieties around COVID-19 and strengthen the parent-child bond.

Community Blog

Helping Families in Need: EPCS Graduate Fellows Create Fun Activities For Parents

With schools across the country closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of parents and caregivers are in need of resources and guidance when it comes to continuing the education of their children at home.

Eliot-Pearson Children’s School (EPCS) announced that it will close for two weeks, beginning on 3/16/2020, as a precautionary measure to protect the health and safety of their students, staff, and families. To help the families of their students, all EPCS Graduate Fellows have stepped up to create a series of age-appropriate activities for parents to implement at home with their children!

Click here to access all of the activities!

Community Blog

Q&A with Professor George Scarlett on His New E-Magazine: “Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards”

George Scarlett is a senior faculty member, faculty advisor for the Master’s Student Association, EP Student Affairs Coordinator and Tisch Faculty Fellow.

With expertise in children’s play, spiritual development, and adolescent’s development as ‘earth stewards’, Professor Scarlett recently published the inaugural edition of a new online magazine: Earth Stewards Tomorrow.

Read on to learn more about Professor Scarlett’s background and the genesis of his new publication.

Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards

Professor George Scarlett, Editor of Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards

Nick: What sparked your interest in the topic of children and earth stewardship?

Professor Scarlett: Like most, my interest in earth stewardship came from early experiences of wonder and adventure in the natural world – in my case, in the mountains of New Hampshire where I first experienced awe in the presence of mountains and a paradoxical love for unexpected adversity – electric storms, climbing in the dark, and so forth.  There is nothing like being up-close and in constant, intimate contact with the natural world to come to know and respect nature and care for its strength and beauty.  In short, I, like most, came to care for the natural world by being out there in the natural world in exciting and very satisfying ways.  And because my major vocational/career interest has been in children and their development, it was a match made in heaven for me to take up this topic of children, youth and  their development as earth stewards.

Nick: Why do you feel that supporting children’s development as earth stewards is so important?

Professor Scarlett: There are enduring reasons and more recent reasons for supporting children’s and youth’s development as earth stewards.  The enduring reasons have to do with the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness that comes from being in and caring for the natural world; the more recent reasons have to do with climate change and the need for an “All hands on deck” approach that includes preparing children and youth to be the next generation to take on the problems around healing our planet.

Nick: How has connecting children and youth to nature and to becoming earth stewards changed over the years?

Professor Scarlett: Just focusing on changes in our own country, in the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, the talk was about the nature study movement with its concern for introducing children to the wonders and order in the natural world, an order that reflects the ‘hand’ of the divine.  Then, throughout the 20th century, there was a strong emphasis on conserving what had been disappearing under the influence of population growth, industrialization and the widespread use of automobiles and highways that gave access to wilderness.  Today, the conversation is more about simply connecting children and youth to nature and fighting the trend of children and youth being disconnected from nature because of suburbanization, worries about stranger danger, social media, playing indoors with technology, and more.  

Nick: What are commonly held misconceptions with regards to children and earth stewardship?

One common misconception is that the foundation of earth stewardship is children becoming  natural scientists through being taught by adults. The actual foundation is more likely to be children having a great time in nature, experiencing wonder, and having lots of control over what they are doing (building forts, playing games, exploring streams, etc.).  Another common misconception is that earth stewardship today means focusing on reducing carbon emissions and recycling when a more productive focus when serving children and youth may well be that of restoring natural systems and biodiversity – that is, a more eco-restoration approach to supporting the development of earth stewards. 

Nick: Are there particular headlines coming out of the work done on children’s and youth’s development as earth stewards?

The headlines for the past decade have been about today’s children and youth being disconnected from nature, about the need to foster place-based (local) connections between children and nature, and about the incredible youth climate movement taking place around the world.

Nick: What was the genesis for the publication of “Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards”?

While there are excellent websites and programs that support good ways to connect children, youth and nature, the focus of these websites and programs can be so broad as to lose the focus on stewardship, and virtually all the websites and programs adopt a fairly ethnocentric perspective rather than an international perspective.  Furthermore, when discussing climate change, very little is said to foster in children and youth an eco-restoration way of thinking about climate change. The genesis, then, had to do with offering a web magazine that was international in scope with an emphasis on an eco-restoration way of thinking about stewardship. 

Nick: What types of content and/or resources are on this new online magazine and what may be unique or special about its mission and offerings?

Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards offers articles on interesting and important programs and methods found in different parts of the world.  For example, in the inaugural edition, there are articles on programs in China, Africa, and Scotland – as well as in the U.S.. There are also what we call “ideas” articles that help readers understand better what is meant by an eco-restoration paradigm or approach and what is meant by a developmental perspective or approach.  And there are films and ebooks that can be shared with children and youth – as well as reviews of children’s books. Together, the materials provide a special way of thinking about children, youth and earth stewardship, one that is decidedly international, emphasizing eco-restoration, developmental in a particular sense of developmental – all infused with the delights and inspiration coming from an artistic approach to providing visuals and explaining ideas and programs.

Nick: What do you hope the Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards web magazine will contribute to the field and to the movement?

My hope is that the web magazine will contribute not just information but also inspiration for those already involved in supporting children’s and youth’s development as earth stewards – and that it will eventually interest others to do the same.  We are today at a crossroads in how we relate to the natural world and our planet.  We can remain thinking and doing in the same old ways and suffer severe consequences, or we can change and become the caring partners with nature that we were always intended to be or, at least that we were evolved to be.  Survival of the fittest no longer should mean survival of those who can dominate.  We are at last coming to the realization that survival of the fittest means survival of those who can cooperate.  This is a wonderful message coming from a variety of sources, including the natural sciences.  It is also a wonderful message for every child and youth to hear, consider and eventually live by so as to become earth stewards.

Community Blog

E-P Faculty Call for Reinstatement of Deferred Action Policy for Immigrants with Critically Sick Children

Sometimes during these late days of summer, we choose not to pay much attention to the news. School is starting, and everyone’s moving around Labor Day. But we need to pay attention.

The Boston Globe reported on August 27 that the Trump Administration had abruptly changed a longstanding policy of granting medical deferral requests to immigrant  families whose children were receiving treatment in U.S. hospitals to remain in the country legally. Instead, families received letters from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that such requests from undocumented immigrants would no longer protect them from deportation while receiving treatment in the U.S. The letters warned that deportations would begin within 33 days; some families receiving letters found they were already partway through this period. You can read the letter families received on the WBUR website.

As grievous as this policy would be for adults dealing with life-threatening illnesses, it’s perhaps even more extreme in the case of children. As reported in Commonwealth Magazine, there are many children currently receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis, cancer and other serious illnesses at Boston Children’s Hospital and other medical facilities around the country whose families have been informed that they need to leave – and to leave treatments that are not available for their children in their home countries.

News organizations reported on August 30 that many elected officials, medical professionals and advocates for immigrant rights have called for oversight and commenced lawsuits to block this reversal of policy.

As faculty dedicated to promoting research about and practice with children, youth and families that focuses on health, inclusivity and equity, we are strongly committed to our support of families seeking critical care for their children. The health and well-being of children – allchildren – is key not only to our mission at Eliot-Pearson, but, we believe, for the health and well-being of our collective futures. We members of the EP faculty believe the “deferred action” policy should be revisited, and we join with the elected officials, medical providers and advocates who have called for review and oversight.

While the Trump Administration has partially reversed course and agreed to “complete the caseload that was pending” when they abruptly ended the policy in August, we believe the administration must find a permanent solution that is equitable and that enables children to get the care they desperately need, regardless of their country of origin.