AUSTIN, Texas — State regulators found approximately 150 health violations at more than a dozen shelters across Texas housing children taken into custody while attempting to cross the border illegally.
The San Antonio Express News reports violations over the last two years include inadequate supervision, lack of timely medical care and children given medicine to which they were allergic.
According to the Express News, some of the incidents include a child who tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease wasn’t given treatment for more than two weeks; another was left alone in a bathroom for 15 minutes during which time he harmed himself.
The shelters are operated by Southwest Key Programs, which runs 16 of the 35 shelters in Texas that contract with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Southwest Key housed nearly 2,600 children last month.
The agency operates 27 immigrant children's shelters across Texas, Arizona and California, according to its website. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a four-year contract with Southwest Key, which is being paid more than $400 million to care for unaccompanied minors who are apprehended by federal authorities.
Once sent to a shelter, the children are then placed with relatives or put into a federal foster care system.
Per policy, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is responsible for inspecting the shelters and is supposed to conduct site visits each month and at least one monitoring visit every two years.
“The biggest questions for the ORR side are were they aware, and if so what did they do?” said Mark Greenberg, now a Senior Fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, told the Express News.
A Southwest Key spokeswoman says the violations amount to less than 1 percent of the standards that were reviewed by regulators.