Arizona Approves License For Southwest Key Programs Youngtown Shelter

Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 3:40pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - 10:22am
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Southwest Key Programs has been approved for a new state license needed to reopen the last of the Arizona shelters for migrant children that the Texas-based nonprofit agreed to close last year.  

The facility is called Casa Amanecer and it’s in Youngtown.

Federal officials closed the shelter last year due to allegations staff had physically abused migrant children who lived there after coming to the United State alone. Local prosecutors ultimately did not file charges.

But Southwest Key gave up the shelter’s license as part of a deal to avoid losing all of its Arizona licenses.

The same agreement with the Arizona Department of Health Services raised oversight of Southwest Key, as did a new state law signed this year.

Southwest Key spokesman Neil Nowlin has said the Youngtown facility was remodeled after a fire in December 2018.

Nowlin released a prepared statement on Tuesday.

“The Arizona Department of Health Services has approved our application to open Casa Amanecer. We are able to begin caring for unaccompanied minors immediately. As was the case in other shelters, intake will be staggered, so we’ll be able to welcome a group of 10 youth every 24 hours. Our licensed bed capacity will be 139,” the statement said. “There is a continuing need for beds in state licensed facilities, so we remain committed to providing compassionate care, education, recreation, vocational training and access to pro bono legal counsel while our staff works to safely reunite minors with a sponsor.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to reflect a correction from Southwest Key Programs on the facility's bed capacity. 

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