Reporters get a look inside the Homestead facility housing unaccompanied children

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Journalists from the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and other news organizations were given access Friday morning to a Homestead facility housing unaccompanied migrant children. Journalists were not permitted to bring in cell phones or other video or audio recording equipment.

The facility, once used as a Job Corps center, is now being used as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied children. The shelter is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Program director Leslie Wood told the journalists that were are 1,179 children housed in the shelter, 792 male and 387 female. She said approximately 70 of those children had been separated from their families at the Mexican border.

The children, Wood said, were between 13 and 17 years old. The teens could be seen walking around the facility in single-file lines, led by employees contracted by HHS. Several children waved or said hello to reporters. Others played basketball and soccer outside their dorm areas, supervised by employees. Most of the children wore government-issued clothing.

The facility was activated to provide temporary for shelter for children in February 2018. The shelter, Wood said, has a capacity of 1,350 children.

This story will be updated.


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