HOUSTON (AP) — As more than 200 children languished in troubling conditions in a remote Border Patrol station, the government’s system of child detention facilities had at least 500 beds available.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had beds available in facilities across the U.S., which when tallied up numbered 512 last week.
Under federal law, the department is responsible for sheltering migrant children until they are placed with family sponsors.
The Border Patrol is supposed to hold children for no longer than 72 hours in most instances.
Health and Human Services says the total number of beds in its system doesn’t reflect the challenges of placing kids in specific facilities, especially toddlers and very young children.