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The HHS Office of Inspector General issues new report that shows significant vulnerabilities at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the office in charge of caring for children separated from their parents at the U.S. border

Senator Murray: “…there is no excuse for the findings in this report—that a facility responsible for children’s wellbeing isn’t making sure its employees pass FBI and other background checks or that it has enough staff to provide traumatized children with critically necessary mental health care”

ICYMI: Inspector General Launches Inquiry After Senator Murray Demands Investigation of Health Department’s Treatment of Children Separated from Parents Under President Trump’s Policy – MORE HERE

(Washington, D.C.)  – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, responded to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) that identified significant vulnerabilities at a facility in Tornillo, Texas, tasked with caring for children as part of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program. The report comes after Senator Murray led a formal request in June for the HHS Office of the Inspector General to investigate the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s ability to care for children forcibly separated from their parents due to President Trump’s cruel policy.

The report, issued yesterday, found the Department waived the requirement the facility conduct required Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint and child abuse and neglect background checks for staff working with minors and also the facility failed to hire enough mental health providers to ensure traumatized children in its care received adequate mental health services.

“Everything about this cruel policy has been a disaster of President Trump’s own making. There is no reason for the Trump administration to tear children from their parents’ arms, and there is no excuse for the findings in this report—that a facility responsible for children’s wellbeing isn’t making sure its employees pass FBI and other background checks or that it has enough staff to provide traumatized children with critically necessary mental health care,” said Senator Murray. “If a facility can’t meet these basic standards, it shouldn’t be trusted to care for children. The Office of Refugee Resettlement must do better. I’m going to continue holding the Trump administration accountable for the harm it is doing to vulnerable families, and demanding oversight to make sure children like those at the facility in Tornillo don’t fall through the cracks.”

In addition to calling for an internal investigation, Senator Murray has continued pushing Trump Administration officials to end child separations at the border and immediately reunite separated children with their families.