Morrison ORR Services: Frequently Asked Questions – UPDATED 6/26/2018

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING MORRISON’S ORR SERVICES

*Updated June 26th, 2018*

 

Why are you working with ICE?

We do not work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] or receive any funding from them.

Morrison works with the Office of Refugee Resettlement [ORR], a program of the Administration for Youth and Families [ACF], within the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], to provide residential and social services for these youth.

For more information please refer to ORR’s Website: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/ucs/about

 

Are you holding children who were taken from their parent(s) at the border?

ORR does not permit us, under any circumstances, to release any information regarding specific youth in our care. Nine years ago, at ORR’s request, we began providing social service support for undocumented immigrant youth coming into the US. These youth are technically undocumented and unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian [what ORR designates as Unaccompanied Alien Child – UAC]. This means that the youth are under the age of 18, do not have legal status, and are acknowledged as not being with the parent or legal guardian when identified by ICE. When ICE takes custody these youth, per the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act [TVPRA], they have 72 hours to transfer custody to ORR, who then places them in facilities like ours throughout their network.

 

You are making millions of dollars to separate youth from families. Where is this money going?

ORR funding is “cost reimbursement” which means we are only reimbursed for expenses incurred; no profit is made in the care of immigrant youths in our ORR programs.

As a nonprofit, we are audited annually and submit quarterly financial reports to ORR, as required. ORR funding is used for facilities, medical and counseling staff, meals, furnishings, clothing and shoes, recreational supplies and activities, transportation (including airfare to unite these youth with their families or sponsors), and salaries to administer the above.

 

Why did you take these kids away from their families?

We did not take these youth away from their families.

Youth are placed at our program, and we actively work with them and their families to complete the reunification process. Our primary goal is to have these youth be with their parents, families, or sponsors as quickly and safely as possible.

 

Why can’t I see or talk to these kids?

The youth are provided the same privacy and protection as every youth in all of Morrison’s programs. ORR requires us to have practices in place to ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and safety of the youth in our care. This is an especially vulnerable population as the youth are often escaping violence, or the threat of violence, in their home country.

 

Do your kids have advocates? Can you confirm that their mental health needs are being appropriately taken care of?

All youth have the opportunity to be assigned a child advocate, and they meet with a legal service provider within their first 5-10 days in care, at no cost to the youth. Additional, external case coordinators oversee the reunification process for each youth and provide an independent recommendation. As required by the Flores Settlement Agreement (1997), all youth in our shelter and staff secure programs receive regular weekly counseling by trained staff. Mental health services are referred to community psychiatric or psychological providers as needed.

 

What are you doing to get the children reunited with the parents, especially those who have been taken from their families at the border?

Everything within our power – reuniting families is the reason we are doing this work. In addition to a safe and timely family reunification, we provide quality care during the interim.

 

Do their parents know where they are? Do they know where their parents are?

Upon entering the program, we gather any family contact information that has already been provided, and we ask the youth for any additional information that they can provide. In the event that the youth does not know where their parent is located, we gather information from ICE, the Consulates, and ORR to find them and initiate contact.

 

They are free to leave anytime they choose? Really? You will let them just walk out?

At our Shelter/Group Home location, the doors are unlocked, and youth can exit at any time. They are encouraged to remain at the program until their reunification is completed, as leaving the program can be a safety concern for these youth and interfere with their immigration proceedings. Our staff secure program is in a locked facility for youth that require closer supervision due to a history of disruptive behavior; placement in this facility is determined by ORR.

 

Why won’t you break your contract with the federal government, return the money, and take a stand against this situation?

These youth need our help. Federal law and the Flores Settlement Agreement (1997) require that these services be provided and that programs like ours exist. We have the experience with residential care and child welfare to ensure that these youth are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve while going through the reunification process. We began these programs 9 years ago and have successfully placed almost one thousand youth with family and sponsors in the United States.

The primary reason we are doing this work is to reunite youth with families; in addition to a safe and timely family reunification, we provide quality care during the interim.

 

Who makes sure that these kids are safe in your program?

Morrison programs funded through the ORR system respond to a wide range of complex regulations and requirements set forth by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of youth served. The regulations can be found in applicable Oregon Administrative Rules, State law, and Federal law. Morrison has designed programs and services to make sure that we comply with all regulations and laws, and we are continuously monitored and audited [both scheduled and unannounced]. On-site audits include youth interviews, facility inspections, and full reviews of policies, procedures, and program documentation.

 

Do all kids stay here in the US after leaving the program?

No. Although nearly all youth are reunified in the United States,  a small number choose to return to their home country through the repatriation process.

 

Your comments are vague. Why aren’t you being transparent?

This is an especially vulnerable population and, in our 9 years working with these youth, we have maintained confidential communication as the highest priority to protect their safety. This FAQ exists to help provide more information.

 

How can I help?

We very pleased by the outpouring of support and genuine offers of help for these youth and our services. If you have questions regarding donations or letter-writing, please reach out to our temporary inbox to handle such communications.

Donations@MorrisonKids.org

 

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING MORRISON’S ORR SERVICES

June 25th, 2018

 

We thank everyone for their interest and offers of support for the immigrant youth we serve. We have created an FAQ to help answer the most common questions that we have received. Our intention is to provide additional information and clarification. We hope this is helpful to all.

 

Why are you working with ICE?

We do not work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] or receive any funding from them. Morrison works with the Office of Refugee Resettlement [ORR], a program of the Administration for Youth and Families [ACF], within the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], to provide residential and social services for these youth.

For more information please refer to ORR’s Website https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/ucs/about

 

Are you holding children who were taken from their parent(s) at the border?

ORR does not permit us, under any circumstances, to release any information regarding specific youth in our care. Nine years ago, at ORR’s request, we began providing social service support for undocumented immigrant youth coming into the US. These youth are technically undocumented and unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian [what ORR designates as Unaccompanied Alien Child – UAC]. This means that the youth are under the age of 18, do not have legal status, and are acknowledged as not being with the parent or legal guardian when identified by ICE. When ICE takes custody these youth, per the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act [TVPRA], they have 72 hours to transfer custody to ORR, who then place them in facilities like ours throughout their network.

 

You are making millions of dollars to separate youth from families. Where is this money going?

ORR funding is “cost reimbursement,” which means that we are only reimbursed for expenses incurred; no profit is made in the care of immigrant youth in our ORR programs.  As a nonprofit, we are audited annually and submit quarterly financial reports to ORR, as required. ORR funding is used for facilities, medical and counseling staff, meals, furnishings, clothing and shoes, recreational supplies and activities, transportation (including airfare to unite these youth with their families or sponsors), and salaries to administer the above.

 

Why did you take these kids away from their families?

We did not take these youth away from their families. Youth are placed at our program, and we actively work with them and their families to complete the reunification process. Our primary goal is to have these youth be with their parents, families, or sponsors as quickly and safely as possible.

 

Why can’t I see or talk to these kids?

The youth are provided the same privacy and protection as every youth in all of Morrison’s programs. ORR requires us to have practices in place to ensure the privacy, confidentiality, and safety of the youth in our care. This is an especially vulnerable population, as the youth are often escaping violence, or the threat of violence, in their home country.

 

Do your kids have advocates? Can you confirm that their mental health needs are being appropriately taken care of?

All youth have the opportunity to be assigned a child advocate, and they meet with a legal service provider within their first 5-10 days in care – at no cost to the youth.  Additional, external case coordinators oversee the reunification process for each youth and provide an independent recommendation. As required by the Flores Settlement Agreement (1997), all youth in our shelter and staff secure programs receive regular weekly counseling by trained staff.  Mental health services are referred to community psychiatric or psychological providers as needed.

 

What are you doing to get the children reunited with the parents, especially those who have been taken from their families at the border?

We are doing everything within our power – reuniting families is the reason we are doing this work.  In addition to a safe and timely family reunification, we provide quality care during the interim.

 

Do their parents know where they are? Do they know where their parents are?

Upon entering the program, we gather any family contact information that has already been provided, and we ask the youth for any additional information that they can provide. In the event that the youth does not know where their parent is located, we gather information from ICE, the Consulates, and ORR to find them and initiate contact.

 

They are free to leave anytime they choose? Really? You will let them just walk out?

At our Shelter/Group Home location, the doors are unlocked, and youth can exit at any time. They are encouraged to remain at the program until their reunification is completed, as leaving the program can be a safety concern for these youth and interfere with their immigration proceedings. Our staff secure program is in a locked facility for youth that require closer supervision due to a history of disruptive behavior. Placement in this facility is determined by ORR.

 

Why won’t you break your contract with the federal government, return the money, and take a stand against this situation?

These youth need our help. Federal law and the Flores Settlement Agreement (1997) require that these services be provided and that programs like ours exist.  We have the experience with residential care and child welfare to ensure that these youth are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve while going through the reunification process.  We began these programs 9 years ago and have successfully placed almost one thousand youth with family and sponsors in the United States. The primary reason we are doing this work is to reunite youth with families; in addition to a safe and timely family reunification, we provide quality care during the interim.

 

Your comments are vague. Why aren’t you being transparent?

This is an especially vulnerable population and, in our 9 years working with these youth, we have maintained confidential communication as the highest priority to protect their safety. This FAQ is to help provide more information.

 

How can I help?

We very pleased by the outpouring of support and genuine offers of help for these youth and our services.  If you have questions regarding donations or letter-writing please reach out to our temporary inbox to handle such communications.

Donations@MorrisonKids.org