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Youth for Tomorrow’s Unaccompanied Minors Program in Place for 2 Years

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Some unaccompanied minors have had a home at Youth for Tomorrow since June 2012.

Two weeks ago, Prince William County government officials wanted to learn just how many facilities in the county, in addition to Youth for Tomorrow, accept federal money to house illegal immigrant minors. The order came after Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart announced he would once again file a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement for information on the whereabouts of illegal aliens arrested in the county and turned over to federal authorities.

The private organization founded by former Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs and run by former U.S. Undersecretary of Education Dr. Gary Jones is located in Bristow. The facility receives federal money that allows them to take in children who are in the U.S. illegally without a parent or guardian, or those who have been trafficked into the country illegally.

A memo from County Executive Melissa Peacor obtained by from the chairman’s office states Youth for Tomorrow is the only facility in the county that accepts undocumented children.

Dear Board Members,

I want to follow up on the issue of YFT and the questions you asked me to answer. To remind you, here are the questions you asked in the Directive:

·         How many children are currently being housed at YFT as part of the Unaccompanied Alien Minor Program? What is your total capacity for that program?

·         What are the expectations of HHS with regard to the need for County services, including educational services (will they be attending local public schools?  Do you educate these children?) public safety services, social services and physical and mental health medical care? What local or state services have you accessed for these children (or plan to access) and what was the source of payment?

·         How long is it expected that these children will remain in Prince William County?

I have had a conversation with Dr. Gary Jones, and he was able to give me some general information but specific questions about the children must be answered by the Federal Health and Human Services Department/Administration for Children and Families Office of Refugee and Resettlement. I have a call into the Principal Senior Communications Specialist. I have not heard back from her, but Dr. Jones told me she is preparing information related to your questions.

This is what I have learned from Dr. Jones:

·         YFT has been participating in the Unaccompanied Alien Minor Children program for 23 months (since June 2012) and has had hundreds of children through that program.

·         During that time, there have been no runaways and no contagions.

·         No local funds, no state funds, no Medicaid funds are being used to support these children and there are no plans to ask for services from the local government of any kind.

·         These children stay on average for 35 days; that has been confirmed by HHS and reported in the Washington Post.

·         All children staying at YFT receive a medical exam and all inoculations within 36 hours of arrival paid for by the Feds.

·         If the children attend school, they do so at YFT in their facilities.  None of these children would be attending our local schools.

That is what I know so far.  Even without the call back from the Feds, this is a lot of information and should help you to communicate with your constituents.

We also talked to Dr. Jones about coming out to ensure that they are currently meeting the conditions of their current SUP as it relates to the programs they are operating.  Dr. Jones was very open to that and I have Chris Price and Tom Bruun on that.   In the meantime, the Police Department has confirmed to me that YFT is in compliance with all the security planning/records availability required in the SUP.

I will update you when I hear from the Feds but really, the only questions left to answer is how many children are there now (which Dr. Jones is not allowed to say) and if there are any other UIAC programs in PWC.

Youth for Tomorrow did not respond to a request for comment.

Greg Leticq is the author of the Black Velvet Bruce Lee blog in Manassas and published information that shows Youth for Tomorrow has accepted more than $8.4 million in federal money this year for the unaccompanied minors program. He says the Federal Government should have been more forthcoming to local officials about the children who are being housed at Youth for Tomorrow.

“Until we know what’s going on, it’s bordering on irresponsible to what should happen [to these children]. At this point, everybody is in the dark,” said Letiecq.

On the federal side, a spokesman for Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10th) said their office “hasn’t been overwhelmed with phone calls” over Youth for Tomorrow.

“They’ve been operating the program for children who have potentially been trafficked and they are providing a service, and they’ve been doing it for well over a year. I’m not aware of any plans to expand the program at Youth for Tomorrow,” said Wolf spokesman Dan Scandling.

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