The California Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) sent automated emails and phone calls to foster parents, asking if they would take one to 26 unaccompanied migrant children who had reached the United States illegally. The bulk of the participants were aged 12 to 17, according to Center Square.
“This is an emergency message. Please respond to this urgent message from the Community Care Licensing Division,” the voicemail said. “CCLD would like to know how many available beds you have to serve additional youth.”
A phone number was specified on the recording for foster parents to call back. Foster parents received a similar email, with links to click that corresponded to the number of beds available.
“As many of you are already aware, CCLD has been sending automated emails and phone calls asking you about available beds to serve additional youth,” the email read.
Foster parents told local news outlets that the calls started in mid-March. When parents inquired about the legitimacy of the calls and emails, the CCLD responded by sending a written letter. It said they were “trying to address the needs of a record number of unaccompanied children who are arriving from Central America, who are escaping impossible situations such as poverty, violence, and natural disasters.”
After being screened by Border Patrol, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is in charge of monitoring the surge of more than 20,000 unaccompanied minors that had arrived at the southern border from February to mid-April.
Border Patrol arrested a record 18,663 migrant children in March, more than double the number in February. The number is expected to rise even further in April.
HHS has been releasing between 200 and 350 children every day to sponsors since March 23.
Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan said, “Parents living here will hire a criminal organization to bring their child into the country,” claiming that the Biden administration facilitated 18,000 family separations in March by removing existing border protection controls.
“We know 31 percent of women had been assaulted making that trip. We know children have been assaulted. We know there’s children in the hands of criminal cartels, we know what happens to them … and it’s just a travesty,” Homan said.
The Daily Mail spoke with Travis and Sharla Kall, who received the communications. They are fostering infant twins alongside their own biological, six-year-old twins.
“Usually, the maximum amount of children you are allowed to foster at any one time is six,” Travis told the Daily Mail. “We called our caseworker, and she told us that everyone was calling her because they had got that same call.”
“So to ask us already certified foster parents to take on children from another country when we can barely take care of our own foster crisis doesn’t seem beneficial to either side because either way, someone loses a bed,” he continued.
The Kalls are the founders of a non-profit dedicated to ending sex trafficking. Travis argued that CCLD’s request for foster families to take in unaccompanied migrant children was “human trafficking” and that the request is only the beginning.
“It’s not the burden of taking kids in because we have the heart for it,” said Travis. “But these are kids that were taken from the border for a money scheme, and now they’re going to use us resource parents to take care of them.”
The average daily cost of caring for a child in a permanent HHS facility is $290. Still, it rises to $775 for those put in temporary emergency facilities “due to the need to develop facilities quickly and hire significant staff over a short time frame.”
According to The Washington Post, Republican House representatives claim that housing unaccompanied minors cost taxpayers $60 million a week.