The Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Refugee Resettlement are currently seeking federal employees to volunteer to serve on details at the southern border to help care for and place children who cross into the U.S. unaccompanied by adult family members. The Office of Personnel Management is partnering with HHS to promote the program, and is encouraging federal managers to allow interested employees to volunteer. Several Chapter 293 union members at the SEC have answered this call: Jordan Baker (NYRO), Alethea Bard (OIA), Mary Farrell (BRO), Jared Jarvis (LARO), Alicia Minyen (SFRO), Stacy Puente (OIAD), Cynthia Richard (OPA), Maria Serna (BRO), and Steven Varholik (SFRO). Please join us in thanking them for volunteering for this important program!
The Unaccompanied Children Program provides a safe and appropriate environment to minor children and youths who enter the United States without immigration status and without a parent or legal guardian who can provide for their physical and mental well-being. They provide a continuum of care for the children, including placements in emergency intake sites, influx care facilities, foster care, and funding for residential care providers that provide state-licensed, temporary housing and other services to unaccompanied children in custody.
The SEC has approved ten volunteer slots for employees to participate by providing assistance with these kids—but there is a small amount of additional demand for more slots at our agency. Because there is a tremendous need for volunteers to deal with the situation, the union has urged SEC senior management to increase the number of slots available for SEC employees to assist with the children at our border.