Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Reveal: Operators Of Shelters Housing Immigrant Children Accused Of Neglect, Abuse

MiddayEd_generic.jpg
Reveal: Operators Of Shelters Housing Immigrant Children Accused Of Neglect, Abuse
Reveal: Operators Of Shelters Housing Immigrant Children Accused Of Neglect, Abuse GUEST: Aura Bogado, reporter, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

The nation is learning more each day about the facilities where migrant children youth and even babies are being held. An investigation out today from reveal part of the nonprofit Center for investigative reporting describes serious allegations against some of the private companies running the Shelters. Allegations include neglect, lapse in healthcare, and alleged sexual and physical abuse. Millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into these institutions. My guess reporter is leading this investigation for reveal. She choices now. Thank you for joining us are at. Tell us about the allegations you are uncovering. >> These are very serious. People have been horrified by seeing the images of children in cages and children that only have a foil blanket to cover themselves in. Often times we know that children are in those locations for a short amount of time. They are then moved into another shelter in which they have a proper bed. What we have found is that some of those shelters have very serious allegations against them. Also inspection reports indicate that the allegations are true and have been confirmed. People have also been imprisoned because of the abuse that they have put on some of the children in these facilities. >>> I understand to start there are examples of health issues being ignored. >> There are so many health issues. We found that a child was given a medicine she was allergic to despite the fact that it was clearly stated on her birth late -- bracelet that she was allergic. One facility in Texas very recently has recently as December we found and inspect chin -- inspection report that the facility had access to some of the drugs the facility gives these children. These are strong trucks. Not Tylenol, we are talking very heavy psychotropics. And on very young children. >>> We have heard these Shelters described this summer camps. What it sounds like your uncovering is something different. How prevalent would you say these conditions are on essentially private organizations running the facilities? >> It is hard to say how prevalent it is. We know dozens may be over 100 different allegations, complaints, lawsuits, inspection reports. We have cited so many examples in so many different eggs that school facilities in so many different states over a long period of time. This is not something that is a surprise to the federal government or to the facilities that house these children. We don't know how prevalent it is. I can tell you that in a more serious medical treatment facility, a child does not just wind up there by accident. It is because they are reported to have a certain serious -- series of behaviors. I want people to know as well that when I say medical treatment facility you might think a big sprawling kind of property with state-of-the-art medical equipment. We found that they are actually trailers. They are mostly a series of trailers in this tiny town of Manville. Some are homes. There is nothing modern about them. Most of them are trailers. >>> Who is responsible for the licensing of the Shelters. Who is overseeing them and how are they reacting to these allegations? >> The federal government through the office of refugee resettlement is the one who entered into an agreement with these facilities some are for-profit, nonprofit, religious, a mixed. Each state licenses these facilities. There is a lot of interaction with both federal and state officials. None of this should be a surprise for any of them. It still continues. >>> You were surprised at how much tax money is flowing into these facilities. >> We are talking billions of dollars. It is all taxpayer-funded. Over the past four years we are talking about one point -- $1.5 billion. >>> How much you think the Shelters are being strained by this influx of children who are not on the companies -- not unaccompanied who came in with their parents. >> We are seeing that facilities are being extremely strained at the moment. They are at or near capacity. We know that whenever a place has more people than it had planned for, you may run into a lot of issues when those people are very young people, when they are so-called tender age, infants, 10 years old, when they come from different parts of the world and they speak often in different languages and don't know one another. And definitely don't know the staff. You can start to get an idea of the kind of chaos that may occur. >>> What about the system for finding a safe place for the children to go when they leave a shelter. Are you concerned about where they might be placed long-term? >> Part of the concern is that we heard that there may be an overall failure in the system to reconnect or reunite families who have been separated at the boarder. What we have found here is evidence that even when the government knows where the parent, the birth parent is here in the United States, the government has been reluctant to hand the child over. >>> This raises questions. Thank you for joining us. That was reporter Ira Ogata who is with reveal part of the Center for investigative reporting. We have a leak two reveals investigation on our website, KPBS.org.

The nation is learning more each day about the facilities where migrant children are being held.

An investigation published Wednesday by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that some of the private companies running these shelters have been accused of neglect, lapses in health care and sexual and physical abuse.

RELATED: Immigrant children Forcibly Injected With Drugs, Lawsuit Claims

Reporter Aura Bogado, who covers immigration for Reveal, lead the investigation. She joins Midday Edition Wednesday to discuss what they uncovered.