We just received a press release from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  They are a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  They informed us of the following:

“the Starr Commonwealth Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in Albion, Michigan, received their first UC today, totaling approximately 100 children.”

They went on to explain that:

“The children will be welcomed by staff, receive a medical check, and be provided needed clothing, toiletries, food and snacks, as well as a safe place to rest.”

How many “unaccompanied minors” can Starr Commonwealth accommodate?  Last week we reported that Starr Commonwealth in a press release stated that they could “shelter for up to 240 unaccompanied migrant children ages 12 and younger”.

According to the Federal government's press release today they state that:

“The Starr Commonwealth EIS will provide shelter for boys ages 5-17 years old and has a potential capacity of 240 beds.”

Today’s Federal government’s press release is different from the press release given to us last Friday by Starr Commonwealth.  That difference is in the ages of the “unaccompanied minors” that will be housed at the facility.  Starr’s press release stated that they will house children 12 and under and today’s Federal government press release states 5-17 years old.

The following is the ACF.HHS press release in its entirety:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact: ACF Press Office

April 12, 2021                                                            Media@acf.hhs.gov

Starr Commonwealth Emergency Intake Site (EIS)

As part of the Biden Administration’s work to create solutions to move unaccompanied children (UC) out of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities as quickly as possible, the Starr Commonwealth Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in Albion, Michigan, received their first UC today, totaling approximately 100 children. The children will be welcomed by staff, receive a medical check, and be provided needed clothing, toiletries, food and snacks, as well as a safe place to rest. The Starr Commonwealth EIS will provide shelter for boys ages 5-17 years old and has a potential capacity of 240 beds.

While HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has worked to build up its licensed bed capacity, additional capacity is urgently needed to manage the increasing numbers of UC referrals from CBP. HHS is aggressively working with its interagency partners to ensure that UC are safe and unified with family members or other suitable sponsors as quickly and safely as possible. To support this effort, HHS selected, with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Starr Commonwealth property to establish an EIS to provide ORR with needed capacity to accept children from CBP into its care where they can be safely processed, cared for, and either released to a sponsor or transferred to an appropriate ORR shelter for longer-term care. The EIS is intended for use as a temporary measure.

The Emergency Intake Site will initially provide potentially lifesaving services for UC that are consistent with best practices/standards in emergency response in disasters or other humanitarian situations – clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, and access to medical services. A COVID-19 health screening protocol for all children will be implemented to follow CDC guidelines for preventing and controlling communicable diseases. Services will be provided by a combination of contractors, and federal staff – including teams from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

HHS will utilize all available options to safely care for the children. These options include both short-term and long-term solutions. In the short-term, HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is working to ensure children don’t spend more time in border patrol facilities than necessary by: 1) safely increasing capacity in its permanent/licensed network by implementing enhanced CDC COVID-19 mitigation strategies; 2) safely reducing the time it takes to unify UC with sponsors; 3) using Influx Care Facilities with the same standards of care used in its permanent/licensed network; and 4) establishing Emergency Intake Sites to decrease over-crowding in CBP facilities. Simultaneously, ORR is committed to aggressively moving toward the long-term goal of acquiring enough state-licensed beds in our care provider network to reduce the need in the future for Influx Care Facilities or Emergency Intake Sites.

ORR operates a network of over 200 facilities/programs in 22 states and has a proven track record of accountability and transparency for program operations, as well as being a good neighbor in the communities where facilities are located.

HHS has recently taken steps to significantly increase bed capacity, including:

  • On February 22, HHS opened the Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility (ICF), Carrizo Springs, Texas, adding an additional 952 beds to our care-provider network.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 14, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children in Midland, Texas, with the potential capacity of 700 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 19, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in Dallas, Texas, with the potential capacity of 2,300 beds.
  • With the assistance of the Department of Defense (DOD) on March 25, HHS announced it will open an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, near San Antonio, Texas with the potential capacity of up to 350 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 27, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the San Diego Convention Center, with the initial potential capacity of 1,450 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on March 29, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Freeman Expo Center in San Antonio, Texas, with an internal potential capacity for 2,100 beds and an external capacity of 300 medical beds.
  • With the assistance of the Department of Defense (DOD) on March 30, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, with the potential capacity of up to 5,000 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 1, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the National Association of Christian Churches (NACC Houston) site in Houston, Texas, with the potential capacity of 500 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 5, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children, Dimmit, in Carrizo Springs, Texas, with the potential capacity of 440 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 5, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the Target Lodge Pecos North property in Pecos, Texas, with the potential capacity of 2,000 beds.
  • With the assistance of FEMA, on April 6, HHS opened an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children, Delphi, in Donna, Texas, with the potential capacity of 1,500 beds.

HHS will keep Congress, state, and local officials informed of future actions concerning UC matters throughout our care-provider network.