Leave your children with Gov. Abbott under the new, lowered childcare standards for family detention

February 19, 2016

WHAT: Popup child care facility in front of Texas Gov. Abbott’s office

WHEN:   Monday, February 22nd, 10:00 am

WHERE: Governor's Public Reception Room, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Health and Human Services Commission has approved a proposed rule to reduce childcare standards that allow licensing for-profit family detention camps in South Texas to move forward.

Immigrant advocates, advocates for children, and other community organizations will highlight the absurdity of the State of Texas licensing abusive and inhuman for-profit prisons operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as “childcare” by turning the Governor Greg Abbott’s reception area at the Capitol into a child care facility. On Monday, the Governor’s office will be “staffed” by unskilled childcare providers who will be provided activities for the children, just like in the family detention camps in Karnes County and Dilley, Texas.

HHSC’s approved rule can be read here.

In rewriting the rules and lowering the standards, state officials have ignored public outcry and a groundswell of opposition against family detention itself and the proposal to license them in particular. An Open Records Request obtained by Grassroots Leadership showed that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received more than 5,000 pages worth of comments, letters, emails and testimony, which were overwhelmingly against adopting the proposed rule. That opposition came from Texas residents, formerly detained mothers, child welfare organizations, faith leaders, and survivors of Japanese internment.

An action to end family detention is taking place simultaneously in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) issued a notice that it would not renew the license for BCRC, effectively ending family detention in Pennsylvania. The license will expire on February 21, 2016 and as of Monday, February 22, the Berks family detention center will be operating without a license, just as facilities in Texas have been.

The operation of all three family detention centers in the U.S. violates two federal court rulings against the incarceration of families.

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.


Alejandro Caceres, acaceres@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111