Health officials to inspect shelters housing migrant children

The U.S. Health and Human Services inspector general’s office says it’s launching a wide-ranging review of conditions at shelters for migrant children.

The HHS said Wednesday it will focus on safety and health-related concerns, as well as the training and qualifications of federal contractors who are supposed to ensure the well-being of children temporarily in federal custody.

Spokesperson Tesia Williams said the inspector general’s probe will not focus on specific allegations of mistreatment, since those are being investigated separately.

HHS is caring for about 12,000 migrant children, including some 2,000 who arrived at the southwest border with a parent and were separated because of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

A judge has ordered children be reunited with their parents within no more than 30 days.

Reunions a tall task

A former director of HHS says the U.S. government could face many challenges trying to comply with the federal judge’s order.

Robert Carey led the agency’s office of refugee resettlement during the Obama administration, which is currently tasked with sheltering migrant children taken from their parents.

Growing border protests over migrant children separated from their parents continue in the United States. CBC’s Paul Hunter reports. 3:19

The order issued late Tuesday requires parents to be reunited with children five and older within 30 days, and with children under five in 14 days.

The agency is currently taking an average of 57 days to place children in its care with adult sponsors.

Carey said the agency will likely struggle to link children with their parents, especially if the parents are still detained or have already been deported. He said he can’t recall a case where the agency placed a child with a parent or relative who was in detention.

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