California foster parents are reportedly being asked to take in migrant children by a state agency, and there is an option to house "26 or more" minors.
The Daily Mail released an alleged voice mail from the Community Care Licensing Division, which is part of California's Department of Social Services.
"This is an emergency message, please respond to this urgent message from the Community Care Licensing Division," said the purported voicemail from March 12. "CCLD would like to know how many available beds you have to serve additional youth."
Foster parents Travis and Sharla Kall informed the Daily Mail that they also received an "urgent" email from CCLD requesting to know how many children they could house.
"Important message from the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) –CA Department of Social Services," the email to the couple read. "Please respond to this urgent message from the Community Care Licensing Division. CCLD would like to know how many available beds you have to serve additional youth."
"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 reported email states. "They are 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."
"Thank you for your sacrificial service to vulnerable children," the purported email reads. "We value you and we are so grateful for your willingness to engage in this important work."
The email offered four options for foster parents:
- Available bed capacity is zero
- Available bed capacity is 1-10
- Available bed capacity is 11-25
- Available bed capacity is 26+
The couple, who run a nonprofit that fights human trafficking, were shocked that the state agency would propose fostering such a large quantity of children at one time.
"Usually the maximum amount of children you are allowed to foster at any one time is six," Travis Kall said. "We called our case worker and she told us that everyone was calling her because they had got that same call."
"At any given point in time there are 30,000-plus children in the L.A. County foster care system alone," Sharla Kall said. "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."
Travis equated the immigration crisis to human trafficking, "I consider it human trafficking. It's not the burden of taking kids in because we have the heart for it, 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 Kalls, who already foster 4-month-old twins and their own biological 6-year-old twins, claim that a friend who uses a different agency to foster children received the same message.
The California Department of Social Service issued a statement to the Daily Mail.
"In the case of unaccompanied minor children who cross the border, responsibility for their care falls under the US Department of Health and Human Services or the US Department of Homeland Security," the statement reads. "Should any unaccompanied minors in this situation be placed by the federal government in licensed children's residential facilities or homes in California, our role at CDSS is to ensure licensed facilities meet California's health and safety standards. In response to a request from HHS for an expedited effort to determine which licensed facilities may be willing to assist, CDSS sent out a survey to licensed homes."
The border crisis has seen massive numbers of illegal immigrants flood the U.S. southern border, which has overwhelmed migrant facilities.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there have been nearly 30,000 encounters with unaccompanied minors at the border already in the 2021 fiscal-year-to-date. In 2020, there were a total of 33,239 unaccompanied minors encountered at the border. This week, CBS News reported that about 15,500 migrant minors have been detained by the federal government.
The massive surge of illegal immigrants has inundated migrant facilities near the border; one facility in Donna, Texas, is reportedly packed at 729% capacity.
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slammed the Biden administration's handling of the border crisis, "The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border. The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane."
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the United States will not expel unaccompanied minors who travel to the border.
"We will not expel that young child. We will care for that young child and unite that child with a responsible parent," the DHS secretary announced.