A facility in Chattanooga which has been housing several dozen teen migrants is under investigation by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services after an allegation of abuse was reported by one of the kids. The exact date and nature of the incident hasn’t been revealed but we do know how the report originated:
Commissioner Jennifer Nichols for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services told lawmakers that her department made an unannounced visit to the old Tennessee Temple dormitory earlier this month. That facility is being rented by the Baptiste Group to house children ages 12 to 17 who are coming from the border.
Nichols says that six of the 62 children being housed there that day were interviewed at random and the contents of those interviews launched an investigation into possible child abuse.
“The sixth youth that was interviewed disclosed that he had witnessed an act that in our policy would substantiate and require that an investigation into that act take place,” said Nichols. “In other words, a referral was made to our own hotline and local law enforcement was immediately notified.”
Chattanooga PD confirmed the report is being investigated by the Special Victims Unit:
Chattanooga Police spokesperson Elisa Myzal says their Special Victims Unit is investigating after they “received complaints involving juveniles that were housed at that location.” We asked CPD to clarify their use of the word ‘complaints,’ as DCS only mentioned the one report on Wednesday, but Myzal said she could not go into the details of the complaints at this time.
The involvement of SVU could potentially indicated that the incident was of a sexual nature but it’s also possible they are involved simply because of the age of the kids involved in the allegation. As for the possibility of multiple complaints, no one is confirming that but a local reporter said yesterday that the FBI was now involved and that the other kids at this facility are now being interviewed.
Mark Anderson, the director of licensing for DCS, says the facility may not have known about it.
— Latricia Thomas (@LatriciaTnc9) June 16, 2021
While all of this is being investigated, the same facility made news again this week. On Monday, a 16-year-old staying at the facility ran away and, as of today, has not been located:
The Missing Persons Unit at CPD is now on the case, hoping to find the 16-year-old boy who left the facility Monday night. The Department of Children’s Services and Homeland Security are also involved.
It’s been three days, and the boy has still not been located…
Local immigration attorney Brittany Faith questions why the investigations are being made public.
“I wonder if possibly DCS is putting stuff like this out to close the facility,” Faith said.
A copy of the Baptiste Group’s license says it’s subject to revocation for failure to comply with state laws or DCS standards.
I don’t see any plot here. The DCS visit that initiated the abuse investigation is apparently required by law. Word got out because it became part of public testimony before lawmakers this week.
It doesn’t appear the story has generated any national media coverage despite reports just last month stating the conditions in some of these facilities are bad. One shelter in Dallas was closed. And after planning to expand the facility at Fort Bliss, HHS Sec. Becerra suddenly reversed course last month on the same day reports broke that the facilities were “appalling” and “filthy.”
In short, there are a lot of dots that can be connected here to suggest the conditions for these kids are not great, but strangely no one in the national media seems interested in connecting them.