HHS to divert up to $385M from health programs to shelter migrant children

HHS will reallocate millions of dollars from some of its health programs to increase shelter capacity for the “overwhelming number” of migrant children, Secretary Alex Azar told Congressional appropriators in letters this week.

Children who cross the border without parents or family are often referred to HHS for shelter, food and other services until sponsors are found in the U.S. But HHS’s shelters are nearly full, and the agency needs to take funds from other programs to pay for more space, Azar said.

That includes up to $286 million from health programs that fund Head Start, Alzheimer’s care and cancer prevention. Most of the money will come from the Administration for Children and Families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.