‘Can’t feel my heart:’ IG Says Separated Kids Traumatized

The little boy, about 7 or 8, was under the delusion that his dad had been killed. And he thought he was next.

Other children believed their parents had abandoned them. And some suffered physical symptoms because of their mental trauma, clinicians reported.

…Already distressed [by events] in their home countries or by their journey, [many] showed more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress symptoms than children who were not separated [from their families.

…Thousands of childcare workers were given direct access to migrant children before completing required background and fingerprint checks.

…A second Office of Inspector General report found 31 of the 45 facilities reviewed had hired case managers who did not meet Office of Refugee Resettlement requirements, including many without the required education. In addition, the review found 28 of the 45 facilities didn’t have enough mental health workers.

…Children were being given psychotropic medications. …About 300 children overall between May and July of 2018 were prescribed antidepressants. Staff described some concerns that dosages or types of medication may not have been right.

…Federal investigators also found some shelters relying on employees to report their own criminal histories. A background check found one employee — who “self-certified” that she had no history for crimes involving child abuse — had a third-degree child neglect felony on her record.

…Only four of the 45 shelters reviewed by the U.S. Health and Human Services inspector general met all staff screening requirements.

…During a time when sponsors had to be fingerprinted, children were held in facilities for as long as 93 days.

…The watchdog said the longer children were in custody, the more their mental health deteriorated, and it recommended minimizing that time, …creating better mental health care options, and hiring more trained staff.

…”Significant factors”  [the agency refused to own to any responsibility for contributed to the problems.] Those included a surge in children at the border, the children’s …mental health needs and a [lack of the foresight needed to do things like bring in more] qualified bilingual [staff of every kind,] especially in rural areas.

‘Can’t feel my heart:’ IG Says Separated Kids Traumatized


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