FILE - In this June 18, 2014, file photo, boys wait in line to make a phone call as they are joined by hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children that are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz. The Associated Press has learned that a Senate subcommittee has found that the government risks placing migrant children in the custody of human traffickers because federal agencies have delayed crucial reforms needed to keep the children safe. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

APNewsBreak: Feds' delays imperil migrant children

April 26, 2018 - 3:02 am

A Senate subcommittee has found that the government risks placing migrant children in the custody of human traffickers because federal agencies have delayed crucial reforms.

Federal officials came under fire two years ago for rolling back child welfare policies meant to protect unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America. An Associated Press investigation found that more than two dozen were placed in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work.

The subcommittee says agencies have yet to take full responsibility for their care.

The Health and Human Services Department has used limited funding to boost outreach to at-risk children. But advocates say it's hard to gauge the total number of minors who may face dangerous conditions.

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