Feds: Abuse Allegations Led To Closure Of Southwest Key Shelter
A federal official said a shelter for undocumented immigrant children run by Southwest Key Programs was recently closed because of allegations that workers physically abused kids.
The allegations involved staff members and three kids, according to a statement from spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The spokesperson did not provide details of the incidents that occurred in mid-September at the West Valley facility, known as Hacienda Del Sol. But they said Southwest Key reported them to authorities, the workers involved have all been fired and a federal investigation is ongoing.
Southwest Key said it welcomed the decision to suspend operations at the shelter, and is working to retrain staff.
Arizona recently launched a legal process to take away Southwest Key’s licenses in the state. As part of that process, Southwest Key and state officials held an informal settlement conference on Tuesday. The Arizona Department of Health Services said it did not expect to reach a final agreement that day.
A spokesperson for Southwest Key released a statement about the meeting.
“We were grateful for the opportunity to meet with [the Arizona Department of Health Services] today as part of the informal settlement conference,” the statement said. “The meeting was productive, and we look forward to working with [ADHS] to address the concerns they have raised. [ADHS’s] priority of keeping all children in our care safe is one we not only share but embrace.”