Casey: IG Report on Failures in Exchange Student Program a Key Step

WASHINGTON, DC-Following the release today of a State Department Office of Inspector General report on deficiencies in foreign exchange student programs, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:

“I am pleased that the State Department Office of Inspector General has completed its report.  I have urged a quick completion of this process to hasten the implementation of new regulations to address the grave inadequacies in the oversight and accountability of foreign exchange student programs.

“The Department of State has taken action to rectify its failure in the oversight and monitoring of exchange programs.  However, the real measure of progress will be what specific steps are taken to prevent this problem from happening again. 

“As the report points out, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has been made aware of its deficiencies three times prior – in 1999, 2000 and 2006 – yet they have not reorganized or restructured the way they do business in order to bring about the desired changes.  

“The incidents in Northeastern Pennsylvania were allowed to happen, in part, because of a lack of clear regulations that allowed sponsor organizations to interpret the rules in a manner that ultimately endangered these students.

“I am encouraged that under the new leadership of Undersecretary Judith McHale there will be new momentum for the proper steps to be taken and for the implementation of effective regulations.  I will continue to work with the State Department and the Bureau to ensure the serious problems with the exchange program are addressed with concrete actions.”

The IG report is available here: http://oig.state.gov/documents/organization/131068.pdf

In May, Senator Casey sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to investigate the Department of State’s oversight of U.S. youth exchange programs following reports of abuse and mistreatment of foreign exchange students in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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