Watchdog: Separated migrant children suffered trauma

WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal government watchdog has found that children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border last year showed increased signs of post-traumatic stress, and the hectic reunification process only added to their trauma.

That’s according to a report by the Inspector General for Health and Human Services obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. The report recommends minimizing the time children are in custody and creating better care options.

It did not address the quality of care but discussed challenges in caring for children.

HHS said factors beyond the agency’s control led to challenges and the agency has started addressing them.

The report found that staff were overwhelmed. Usually there is one mental health clinician for 12 children but during the period of the “zero tolerance” policy caseloads were 25.

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