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Sen. Carper calls for more government oversight of migrant youth

Delaware Public Media

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) is calling for stronger federal oversight of unaccompanied migrant youth in Delaware and other states. These are kids who show up at the border without parents.

Health and Human Services officials place the migrant children with relatives or non-relative sponsors.

But Carper said federal agencies must also continue to track them after that, enforce agreements with sponsors and ensure sponsors bring children to their court hearings.

Pattiva Cathell, an Indian River School District school counselor who works with migrant students, said some of her students have been deported for missing court appointments - which is the responsibility of the sponsors.

“I have had students who’ve left their initial sponsor and you know and a lot of the reasons our kids have been deported is the non-compliance with the court hearing,” she said.

Indian River School District has 111 migrant youth attending school in the Georgetown area. Cathell said many of them have a non-relative sponsor - usually someone they never met before.

Cathell said she would like to see more oversight of sponsors - pointing to cases in other states where sponsors have taken advantage of children.

“There is no case manager on the other side," she said. So, I would love to see that. I mean, it would ensure that our children are not being victimized by a category 3 sponsor because you know, unfortunately, it happens.”

Federal agencies dispute Carper’s understanding of the issue and HHS officials argue they don’t have the authority to care for youth after they release them to a sponsor.

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