/ Modified sep 20, 2018 11:27 a.m.

Arizona Aims to Take Licenses From Southwest Key Programs

The operator of shelters for migrant children missed a deadline that was part of a deal made to increase state oversight.

Kids SW Key Kids play on a basketball court at the Southwest Key facility in Tucson, July 7, 2018
Nancy Montoya, AZPM

Arizona wants to take away the licenses held by Southwest Key Programs after the operator of shelters for migrant children missed a deadline connected to increased state oversight.

As accusations of sex crimes surfaced against Southwest Key workers in Phoenix and Mesa, state officials conducted inspections of all 13 Southwest Key facilities.

The sides made a deal in August for increased state oversight. Southwest Key agreed to make sure that all workers went through basic training and had current fingerprint background checks.

But Southwest Key missed last Friday’s deadline to give the state proof the work was done.

Now the state plans to take away all of Southwest Key’s licenses.

“We have apologized to [the Arizona Department of Health Services] for missing the reporting deadline and are serious about ensuring that never happens again,” said an emailed statement from Southwest Key spokesman Jeff Eller. “We have requested the opportunity to meet with [the Arizona Department of Health Services] leadership as soon as possible and know that having a strong partnership with the agency is incumbent upon us. We remain committed to meeting all Arizona licensing requirements — both required by law and voluntary — and doing so in a timely manner.”

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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