Federal Report Blames Trump Immigration Policies for Mental Health Crisis Among Detained Children

click to enlarge Unaccompanied minors walk inside a facility supervised by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Homestead, Florida. - Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Unaccompanied minors walk inside a facility supervised by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Homestead, Florida.
A new report by the Department of Health and Human Services' internal watchdog blames the Trump administration's family separation policies for worsening a mental-health crisis among immigrant kids in federal custody.

HHS's Officer of the Inspector General found that migrant children received insufficient mental-health care, especially when it came to processing the severe trauma of being separated from their families, according to the report released Wednesday.

What's more, government facilities struggled to find qualified caretakers, often hiring them without proper educational standards and adequate background checks, the document states. 

"Policy changes in 2018 exacerbated these concerns, as they resulted in longer stays in [federal] custody and a rapid increase in the number of younger children — many of whom had been separated from their parents after entering the United States," the Office of the Inspector General wrote. 

The office's report is based on interviews with more than 100 mental health clinicians plus medical coordinators, facility leadership and federal field specialists assigned to 45 ORR-funded facilities.

In a statement supplied to CBS News, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro — the Democrat who chairs the House subcommittee overseeing HHS appropriations — said the report is proof that "President Trump's family separation policy was state-sanctioned child abuse."

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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