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State Officials Close To Approving Karnes and Dilley Childcare Detention Centers

Ryan McCrimmon
The Texas Tribune



Texas Department of Family and Protective Services are close to a decision on whether to allow two private prison companies to register their immigration detention facilities as licensed daycares.   


In an effort to address the influx of children at immigration detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley and bring them up to state standards, the Geo Group and Corrections Corporation of America requested a special license from the state that would certify the facilities as childcare centers.


Tuesday, executives with the Department of Family and Protective Services will take up the matter again.  Commissioner John Specia said agency officials have inspected the two facilities and are ready to present their findings to the public.


“They look at the facility, they look at the size of the rooms, they look at how medication is handled, they look at how chemicals are stored, they look at the playground and equipment, they look at the training of people to make sure they’ve had the proper background checks," Specia explained.


Manoj Govindaiah is the general counsel with the Immigration non-profit RAICES and said the conditions of these detention daycare centers aren’t what you would expect to see at your child’s daycare or after-school program.


“I think it’s just Geo’s way or ICE’s way of trying to conform with the licensing requirements as the state has laid them out regardless of the fact that this is a prison that these families are victims of trauma," Govindaiah said.


Govindaiah worries that if the DFPS approves the two private companies requests it could mean longer detention times for mothers and their children because kids by law would then be allowed to remain at these facilities for longer periods of time.


The Commission expects to vote on whether to provide a temporary childcare license to the two companies next month.   

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.