Medical Care, Other Services Have Improved for Immigrant Children
Medical care and other services since 2003 have improved for immigrant children held after arriving in the U.S. without parents or guardians, but some of those children continue to face inadequate services, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Women's Refugee Commission and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the AP/Kansas City Star reports. For the report, researchers visited more than 30 facilities in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington state between April 2007 and February 2008 to examine the effects of a 2003 change in the federal system for oversight of such children.
In 2007, authorities apprehended more than 90,000 such children along the southern U.S. border, with about 8,000 of those placed in U.S. custody and transferred to the HHS Division of Unaccompanied Children's Services, a program established in 2003; previously, the Immigration and Naturalization Service held such children. According to the report, since 2003 such children have received improved medical care, psychological treatment and education. However, among other problems, such children have limited access to therapeutic programs for gang violence, sexual abuse or abandonment, according to the report.
Michelle Brane of the Women's Refugee Commission said, "These kids are really traumatized," adding, "It's a challenge to provide them with services" (Garay, AP/Kansas City Star, 2/4).
The report is available online.