The Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program and its director, Dr. Victor G. Carrion, an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist work on understanding, ameliorating and preventing early life stress in youth. Early Life Stress, such as traumatic stress, can have severelong-lasting psychological, cognitive, emotional and social consequences, not only for the sufferer but for the system in which they live.

We join the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) statement on acknowledging that “children who experience sudden separation from one or both parents, especially under frightening, unpredictable, and chaotic circumstances, are at higher risk for developing illnesses such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other trauma-induced reactions.”

The current “zero tolerance policy” requiring separation of children from their parents add on to other events these children may have experienced. Further, many of the youth are ill-equipped to manage further stress; long travels, malnutrition, history of fleeing violence all become amplified by separation from parents. For many children, this is their first experience with the United States of America, a place they probably thought of as a beacon of hope. These traumatic experiences may now replace that hope and become impressed memories in their young developing brains. History teaches us that trauma of this magnitude can get passed on from generation to generation.

Harmful measures that cause prolonged, intense fear in the absence of known caretakers are experienced as terror. We, therefore, urge the immediate cessation of this policy, or any legislation that separates children and families for the benefit of these children and ALL children.

The limited information on the conditions in which these boys and girls are being treated can compound one’s feelings of anxiety. If you are distressed by the current events, taking action steps may reduce feelings of helplessness. You can call your legislators or offer help to groups that support immigrant families. One example is the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services(RAICES)


Welcome to the Early Life Stress & Pediatric Anxiety Program (ELSPAP) Website

ELSPAP addresses the impact of traumatic stress on child development through four core components:

Understanding the critical role of prevention and early intervention in the lives of children who struggle with stress, anxiety, and trauma guides our policy and education efforts, and our academic and community partnerships.



Patient Information

The Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program provides treatment for youth who struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma and more.