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Critics decry long-distance counseling for migrant teens

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) – The U.S. government is providing long-distance video counseling to teens housed at the country’s largest child migrant detention center as officials struggle to accommodate increasing numbers of minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

A private company contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to run the center in Homestead, Florida, is piloting the program and has hired clinical counselors and case managers in Texas, about 1,600 miles (2,575 kilometers) away.

Comprehensive Health Services says it has had to hire counselors from Texas because it hasn’t been able to attract enough candidates from the Miami area.

Some mental health experts and human rights advocates say video counseling is the wrong way to help the young people, many of whom have been traumatized by violence, deprivation and illness on their journey north.

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