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People march in support of separated migrant families in June 2018. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

During the family separation crisis last year, Health and Human Services facilities struggled to provide adequate mental health care to migrant children as required under the Flores agreement, according to a new agency watchdog report.

Why it matters: Many of these migrant minors had already faced signifiant trauma in their home countries and in their travel to the border — such as physical abuse, kidnapping, rape and other forms of violence, according to the report. In addition, child migrant care facilities told the Inspector General (OIG) "addressing the unique mental health needs of separated children was particularly challenging."

Key quotes: "Separated children exhibited more fear, feelings of abandonment, and post-traumatic stress than did children who were not separated. Separated children experienced heightened feelings of anxiety and loss as a result of their unexpected separation from their parents..."

  • "Children who did not understand why they were separated from their parents suffered elevated levels of mental distress."
  • "The level of trauma and unique experiences of separated children made it more difficult to... address children’s mental health needs."
  • The report also found that the uncertainty and chaos surrounding the reunification process added to migrant children's emotional distress.
  • One child was moved to a different care facility to be reunited with her father, but "after the child made several trips to the detention center, she was returned to the Florida facility 'in shambles' without ever seeing her father."

What to watch: Dozens of migrant parents are preparing to sue the U.S. government, claiming their children were harmed while in HHS custody during family separation, the AP reported last month. It found taxpayers could end up having to pay $200 million in damages.

Go deeper

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.