The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is part of the executive branch of the United States government. The department is tasked with overseeing the health of all Americans by providing “effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.”
HHS includes several sub-agencies including:
● The Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
● The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
● The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
● The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
● National Institutes of Health (NIH)
ACF also houses the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Program, which is responsible for supporting undocumented children who are currently in the country without a legal parent or guardian. Unaccompanied children are housed at one of the approximately 170 facilities and programs in 23 states funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement while they wait for a suitable “sponsor” to take responsibility for the child’s care. As of September 2019, around 5,000 unaccompanied children resided in HHS care.
In September 2018, HHS diverted millions of dollars in funding from other health programs, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute, to pay for housing detained immigrant children.