Arizona Licenses for Nonprofit Housing Migrant Kids at Risk

Sep 20, 2018

Arizona officials are moving to revoke the licenses for a nonprofit that houses immigrant children in part because it missed a deadline to show that all its employees passed background checks.

This Southwest Key Programs facility is near 14th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.
Credit Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Department of Health said in a scathing letter Wednesday that Texas-based Southwest Key demonstrated an "astonishingly flippant attitude" toward the state's concerns about delayed background checks for workers at its eight Arizona shelters.

A state investigation this summer prompted by several reports of sexual abuse of immigrant children in Arizona found that some shelters hadn't conducted fingerprint checks for all employees.

Spokesman Jeff Eller said Southwest Key has apologized and is working with the state to ensure it never misses a deadline again.

The organization has several options to ensure it keeps its licensing, such as requesting a hearing with a judge.