Migrant Kids Go to Facilities with Serious Lapses

Taxpayers have paid more than $1.5 billion in four years to private companies operating immigrant youth shelters accused of serious lapses in care, including neglect and sexual and physical abuse. In nearly all cases, the federal government has continued to place migrant children with the companies even after serious allegations were raised.

Taxpayers have paid more than $1.5 billion in four years to private companies operating immigrant youth shelters accused of serious lapses in care, including neglect and sexual and physical abuse, Reveal reports. In nearly all cases, the federal government has continued to place migrant children with the companies even after serious allegations were raised and after state inspectors cited shelters with serious deficiencies. Since 2003, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has awarded nearly $5 billion through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, mostly to religious and nonprofit organizations in 18 states, to house children who arrive in the U.S. unaccompanied. The program grew quickly in 2014, when around 70,000 children crossed the southern border alone.

This web of facilities is beginning to hold a new population: the 2,000 children who arrived with their parents but were separated from them because of a Trump administration policy. In Texas, where most grants were awarded, state inspectors have cited homes with more than 400 deficiencies, about one-third of them serious. Allegations included staff members’ failure to seek medical attention for children. One had a burn, another a broken wrist, a third a sexually transmitted disease. In another shelter, staff gave a child medicine to which she was allergic, despite a warning on her medical bracelet. Inspectors also cited homes for “inappropriate contact” between children and staff, including a case in which a staff member gave children a pornographic magazine. In October, an employee appeared drunk when he showed up to work at a Texas facility; a test found he was over the legal alcohol limit to drive. In dozens of cases reviewed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Texas Tribune, federal officials continued sending children who crossed the border to the shelters after the incidents came to light.

from https://thecrimereport.org