Since responsibility for unaccompanied children was transferred to HHS by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, OIG has provided oversight of the unaccompanied alien children (UAC) program. OIG is charged with overseeing programs and operations in HHS, including the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); to combat fraud and abuse in those programs; and to promote their efficiency and effectiveness. To accomplish this, OIG employs an array of oversight tools: investigations, evaluations, and audits.
OIG has completed work examining various aspects of the UAC program. For example, we audited grantee expenditures and assessed their internal controls for administering UAC program funds. We also examined whether ORR grantees met safety standards for the care and release of children in their custody. When OIG has identified possible criminal misconduct, we have investigated it or referred it to our Federal or local law enforcement partners as appropriate. All of these efforts have one unifying purpose—to promote the protection of children in the Department's care.Read More
- Care provider facilities described the challenges inherent in addressing the mental health needs of children who had experienced significant trauma before coming into HHS care. Facilities also faced challenges employing mental health clinicians, accessing external mental health providers, and transferring children to facilities within ORR's network that provide specialized treatment.
- Policy changes in 2018 exacerbated the challenges addressing the mental health needs of children, as they resulted in longer stays in ORR 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.
- ORR concurred with all of OIG's recommendations and described its plans to address the challenges, some of which are already underway.
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- In general, facilities serving children in the UAC program met a range of employee background checks and qualification requirements designed to keep individuals who may pose a risk to the safety and well-being of children from having direct access to children. However, some facilities did not have evidence of the required FBI or Child Protective Services (CPS) check results.
- Facilities had difficulty maintaining required staffing ratios because of challenges experienced in screening, hiring, and retaining qualified employees.
- ORR concurred with our recommendations and outlined corrective actions it had taken or are underway to address the findings identified in the report.
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- Southwest Key Did Not Have Adequate Controls in Place To Secure Personally Identifiable Information Under the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program (A-18-18-06001)
- Southwest Key Programs Did Not Always Comply With Health and Safety Requirements For The Unaccompanied Alien Children Program (A-06-17-07005)
- The Children's Village, Inc., an Administration for Children and Families Grantee, Did Not Always Comply with Applicable Federal and State Policies and Requirements (A-02-16-02013)
- Lincoln Hall Boys' Haven, an Administration for Children and Families Grantee, Did Not Always Comply With Applicable Federal and State Policies and Requirements (A-02-16-02007)
- Separated Children Placed in Office of Refugee Resettlement Care (OEI-BL-18-00511)
- BCFS Health and Human Services Did Not Always Comply With Federal and State Requirements Related to the Health and Safety of Unaccompanied Alien Children (A-06-17-07007)
- The Tornillo Influx Care Facility: Concerns About Staff Background Checks and Number of Clinicians on Staff (A-12-19-20000)
- Florence Crittenton Services of Orange County, Inc., Did Not Always Claim Expenditures in Accordance With Federal Requirements (A-09-17-01002)
- Heartland Human Care Services, Inc., Generally Met Safety Standards, but Claimed Unallowable Rental Costs (A-05-16-00038)
- Florence Crittenton Services of Orange County, Inc., Did Not Always Meet Applicable Safety Standards Related to Unaccompanied Alien Children (A-09-16-01005)
- BCFS Health and Human Services Did Not Always Comply With Federal Requirements Related to Less-Than-Arm's-Length Leases (A-06-16-07007)
- Office of Refugee Resettlement Unaccompanied Alien Children Grantee Review-His House (A-04-16-03566)
- HHS's Office of Refugee Resettlement Improved Coordination and Outreach to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Unaccompanied Alien Children (OEI-09-16-00260)
- Division of Unaccompanied Children's Services: Efforts to Serve Children (OEI-07-06-00290)
Last Updated: 09-04-2019