The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that his office would probe the agency’s treatment of so-called “unaccompanied alien children.”
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is housed within HHS, is responsible for taking custody of unaccompanied minors after they are apprehended by border patrol agents. “Unaccompanied,” minors include children who were separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy.
“Specifically, this review will focus on a variety of safety- and health-related issues such as employee background screening, employees’ clinical skills and training, identification and response to incidents of harm, and facility security,” the inspector general’s office said, as quoted by the Hill.
The Associated Press noted, citing spokeswoman Tesia Williams, that the probe will not focus on specific mistreatment allegations, which are being investigated separately.
The treatment of unaccompanied minors in HHS-contracted facilities made headlines recently when Reveal News reported on a pending lawsuit in which children formerly detained at one such facility, Shiloh Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas, alleged wide-ranging abuse.
The announcement of an IG investigation came shortly after 41 Democratic senators called for such a probe. Read the Democrats’ letter below: