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Separation of Children from Family/Guardians

Originally approved June 2019


ACEP opposes the practice of forced separation of children from their family/guardians in the absence of risks to the child's wellbeing.


  • The risks to the child of remaining with family/guardians must be serious, imminent, and clearly identified.
  • Established legal and administrative procedures for separation from family/guardians must be applied consistently and justly.
  • If separation is determined to be necessary, it must be for the briefest duration and in the least restrictive manner possible.
  • A process for reunification with family/guardians, placement of the child with other family caregivers, or other permanent solution must be outlined in advance of the physical separation.
  • Sick and/or injured children should receive timely and appropriate medical evaluation and treatment when indicated.
  • The care of the child in custody must meet recognized humane standards and be clearly documented for each case.

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