Video Exposes Inappropriate Behavior Towards Migrant Children in Custody

Abuse at Southwest Key shelter
The Arizona Republic received videos showing abusive behavior towards migrant children in their custody.

The video involved three children and staff members at Southwest Key's shelter in Youngstown, Arizona, The Shelter, named Hacienda Del Sol, was closed in October. The closure occurred after state health authorities threatened to revoke the licenses for all Southwest Key shelters in the state over the company's failure to comply with laws on staff background checks.

The video was obtained by the Arizona Republic under state law, and while the state opted to blur out much of the video to protect the anonymity of those involved, it still shows employees dragging and slapping children.

In one video, you can see a male staffer drag a child into a room, then slapping the child as he pushes him against a well. The staff member pauses, then leaves the room as the child retreats into a corner.

In another video, a female staff member drags a child into a room after the child attempted to block the doorway. Another staff member is also pulling a child into the same room by their arms as other activity goes on as if nothing untoward is happening.

The federal government suspended operations with this particular facility in October, though it is unclear if these videos, from mid-September, played any part in the Government's decision to terminate the agreement. 

At that time, Southwest Key promised to " thoroughly retrain" their staff in appropriate procedures, and children were moved to other Southwest Key shelters.

The shelter had been the site of additional reports of sexual assault involving children, dating back to 2015. Additional Southwest Key shelters have faced similar allegations.

Southwest Key operates 13 shelters in Arizona, and operated 24 shelters in total. They claim to be able to hold up to 5000 minors. 

The full video can be viewed on the website for the Arizona Republic.

Image via screen capture from video source.

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