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Unaccompanied Children, UC Care Providers, and Planning for the End of the COVID-19 Pandemic

By USCRI December 21, 2020

Since the outset of the pandemic, care providers have worked diligently to maintain the health and safety of the unaccompanied children (UCs) in their care. COVID-19 hit congregate-care facilities especially hard, which meant that staff had to adjust to changing practices around exposures and maintaining safety, emerging best-practices based on new information, new protocols, and new routines. UC care providers were largely successful in mitigating the worst of the pandemic, as confirmed by a recent report from the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Although successful in mitigating the worst of the pandemic, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) system suffered from coordination challenges in the areas where care providers did not have much influence, as a prior brief discussed. Moving forward, HHS’s own epidemiological experts—in the Division of Health for Unaccompanied Children (DHUC) and Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service—must lead public-health efforts in a more robust, hands-on way. HHS must develop and implement policies that ensure availability, accessibility, and acceptability of COVID-19 vaccines for UCs and front-line staff at care providers.

Read the full report…Safe-UC-Care-USCRI-brief-12-21-20


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