There are four locations in Southern California that house migrant children who are separated from their parents, and NBC4 went to La Verne to get more details on what goes on in these places.
While the media is not being allowed inside, NBC4 was able to shoot video from outside the property to get a better idea of the conditions the children live under. Our cameras made a point to blur out the faces of the children, as migrant kids are mixed in with foster children at the facility in La Verne.
The organization, the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services' 17-acre campus in La Verne, contracts with the government to house up to 59 migrant children ages 5 to 17, although officials weren't releasing information on the exact number being held in the La Verne facility.
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The children, along with the foster children, live in cottages with no more than 10 kids each. They usually stay about 30 days until sponsor families can be found. They go to school and have access to mental health services.
Over the weekend, inspectors from the California Department of Social Services visited the location in La Verne, along with 16 other places that house migrant children. They spoke with children, staff and foster parents and found no immediate health or safety concerns.
In response to NBC4's request to tour the La Verne facility, Director Maggie Bohlman responded with the following statement:
"Like the rest of the country we are troubled by what has occurred at our borders. We do not set public policy and cannot be distracted from the work we do. Our focus is to care for youth. We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and comforting environment to all the children we serve."
Along with the La Verne facility, NBC4 also contacted a facility in Fullerton named Crittenton Services for Children that is housing fewer than 20 migrant children, but no babies or toddlers. The Crittenton Services for Children responded to NBC4's request for comment with the following statement:
"The youth in our care will always be treated in a dignified and respectful manner; they are doing well despite the circumstances they find themselves in; and we take great care to customize services for each of our youth and provide a supportive environment where we can help them process through any distress they are experiencing."