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Arizona Ups Oversight Of Groups That House Migrant Children

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill to increase state oversight of federally funded facilities that house migrant children who come to the United States alone, and most of the new law’s provisions take effect immediately.

Organizations like Southwest Key Programs don’t have to start cross-checking worker backgrounds with Arizona’s child welfare agency until September. But they do have to immediately start telling state health officials when something happens at a facility that could put a kid in danger.

The new law’s most important part requires organizations to tell the state shortly after agreeing to house migrant children for the federal government, said its author, State Sen. Kate Brophy McGee (R). 

“[Migrant kids] come in waves. And sometimes these facilities stand empty. And sometimes they’re full to the gills. Now we’ll know,” she said.

The new law gives the state health director power to waive inspections of facilities for migrant kids and also lets her order surprise visits.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.