Referral of Separated Immigrant Families to Health Centers for Mental Health Assessments and Treatment

HHS has entered into a federal contract with Seneca Family of Agencies to implement a district court’s preliminary injunction that requires the United States to provide mental health services to migrant parents separated at the U.S.-Mexico border who are members of the class action in Ms. JP., et al., v. BARR, et al., No. 18-cv-06081-JAK (C.D.Cal.). Consistent with its mission to enhance and protect mental health, HHS is committed to complying with the court’s preliminary injunction and ensuring that the services the court has ordered are delivered in an effective, efficient, and professional manner.

As part of this effort, the Department has requested the non-profit organization Seneca to refer reunified, immigrant families to HRSA-supported health centers as capacity exists for an initial mental health assessment and mental health treatment if indicated.

Under the federal contract, Seneca will locate class members within the U. S., notify them of the availability of mental health services, and determine their interest in seeking these services. Seneca will refer those class members and their separated children to no or low-cost mental health providers who receive federal grant funding from, or are supported or designated by, SAMHSA or HRSA.

To facilitate a smooth referral process, the Department issues this bulletin to inform the health centers of this contract, so that they could accommodate the referrals, as capacity exists. If any of the health centers charges a copay or fee for assessment or treatment, Seneca will cover the fee and seek reimbursement from the Department to ensure each eligible and interested family receives services in a timely manner.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Jean-Michel Voltaire, Esq., from the HHS Office of the General Counsel at or 202-819-2165.