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Pioneer Human Services is not housing separated migrant children in Spokane

June 25, 2018 Updated Mon., June 25, 2018 at 8:43 p.m.

A screen shot of a USA Today map updated June 25, 2018. The original map listed Spokane as a site where migrant children separated from their parents were being housed. (USA Today)
A screen shot of a USA Today map updated June 25, 2018. The original map listed Spokane as a site where migrant children separated from their parents were being housed. (USA Today)

Spokane does not appear to be housing any migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, in spite of reports to the contrary.

An article published June 22 in USA Today included a map showing locations where migrant children were being housed. The map listed Pioneer Human Services as a Spokane site, but Pioneer spokeswoman Nanette Sorich said that’s incorrect.

“We don’t have any youth programs in Eastern Washington,” she said.

The USA Today map, which was based on federal records and media reports, has since been updated.

Nine migrant children who were separated from their parents are currently in Washington, said Tara Lee, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. Washington officials have been unable or unwilling to say where those children are being housed, citing concerns over their privacy and safety.

Pioneer’s existing contracts with the federal government in Spokane are through the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons; the contracts relate to services for people being released from prison, according to a search of public records on USASpending.gov.

Those programs include drug treatment and help finding employment for people on federal probation.

None are through the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the placement of migrant children.

Pioneer does operate a facility in Fife, Washington, near Tacoma, housing 23 unaccompanied teenagers who crossed the border alone. Federal records show Pioneer received $8.6 million to operate the shelter from October 2014 through the end of September 2018.

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