A behavioral health facility in Chester County, Pennsylvania, will house up to 42 undocumented children who crossed into the United States without adult companions.
Devereux Behavioral Health System's facility in Devon received a $14 million federal grant in the spring from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Devereux is a national health organization with facilities throughout the country.
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The non-profit's chief strategy officer, Leah Yaw, said in an email that no date is set for receiving immigrant children, who will be between 5 and 12 years old.
Yaw also said "the unaccompanied children Devereux will serve in this program have no identified special needs or disabilities, and no behavioral concerns. These children have no known mental health diagnoses, nor do they have identified intellectual or developmental disabilities or juvenile justice histories."
Still, some community members took exception to the plan to house dozens of undocumented children in their community, according to residents who attended the meeting Monday night.
One resident who attended the meeting put together a fact sheet on the plan, and said she believes the facility is not equipped to handle children caught in immigration limbo.
"Devereux's action run counter to the ideals they so publicly espouse," the resident, who asked not to be named, wrote. " They state the importance of and their desire to be a good neighbor and partner with the area residents. Yet, have not been forthcoming or honest with our community around their proposed use of the structures."
Fox29 reported that residents at the meeting were initially told the location would be sold and turned into a residential community. Then, without notice, renovations were done to the property to open it as a housing facility for children.
In job postings on Indeed.com, Devereux is seeking "bilingual (English/Spanish) caregivers" for its Stone and Gables Campus on Highland Avenue in Devon.
"In response to the humanitarian crisis at America’s ports of entry, Devereux will be providing short-term shelter care services for refugee children who have come to the United States without their legal guardian," the job listing reads. "Devereux will provide extremely high-quality, trauma-informed residential and educational services for refugee children, with intense supports for their social and emotional health. We will also ensure they receive excellent and immediate physical health care including pediatric, dental and nutritional supports for every child."
The listing continues: "Devereux’s ultimate goal is to ensure every refugee child who receives our services is successfully and quickly discharged into the loving care of their family sponsor and, during the short time they are with us, have received best-in-class medical, therapeutic, recreational and educational services designed specifically to address the traumas they have sustained during, and often before, their migration journey."