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Health and Human Services Officials Visit USVI

U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg and Region II Administrator Joyce Thomas meet with V.I. officials Tuesday on St. Thomas. (Photo provided by Government House.)Ranking officials of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, part of a team visiting the territory, met with Gov. Kenneth Mapp Tuesday on St. Thomas, according to Government House.

DHHS Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg and Region II Administrator Joyce Thomas, are keeping a busy schedule of meetings with local officials on St. Thomas and St. Croix through Wednesday.

According to Government House it is the first visit here by Assistant Secretary Greenberg, who said he is here to listen and learn how the Administration for Children and Families can help support local programs established to improve the quality of life for their clients.

The USVI receives $15 million in human services grants, and $10 million in grants to assist child-support collection efforts. One of the meetings the visiting officials attended was with Attorney General Claude Walker, the top local official enforcing child support payment requirements.

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The meeting with Mapp also focused on child care, homelessness, and the Head Start Project. Head Start serves 200 of the territory’s children in 10 classrooms. Thomas said that the Region II office in New York has been working closely with the VI Department of Human Services and the Department of Justice to support families and children, and that she is “thrilled that Assistant Secretary Greenberg is here to see that good working partnership.”

The federal team will travel to St. Croix Wednesday. According to Thomas, federal officials are interested in learning how families and children have been affected following the closing of the former Hovensa oil refinery four years ago. She said her team also wants to meet with representatives of the Interagency Council on Homelessness. 

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