Denver considers applying for grant to serve 'unaccompanied alien children'

DENVER - Denver officials say they're considering offering to take care of some of the immigrant children who have overwhelmed border facilities in recent months.

Denver Department of Human Services spokeswoman Ana Mostaccero told The Associated Press on Friday that the department is in the process of applying for a three-year federal grant to house the children. She said the department is still doing feasibility studies and consulting with other city agencies and hasn't submitted the application yet.

If the city applies and wins a grant, the children would be placed in the city's existing Family Crisis Center. It has bedrooms, classrooms and a dining hall and is only partially being used now.

The city has until Aug. 6 to submit an application.

Mayor Michael Hancock's office emailed this statement on the subject:

Denver Human Services and the City and County of Denver are considering applying for a three-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, that would award an average of $4 million in funding to municipalities to serve “Unaccompanied Alien Children” with temporary shelter care and other related services. Mayor Michael B. Hancock released the following statement in this regard:

“The children trying to come to this country without their parents are victims of a humanitarian crisis.  In Denver, we care about kids.  The work of departments like DHS is how we answer the call to serve.  In this case, the federal government is trying to place refugee children with family members.   And while we have not yet been asked, we recognize that we are likely to have relatives in our community who will want to take in their young family members. Denver is acting in a fiscally responsible manner by considering an application for federal resources to help us provide those connecting services for kids in the case we are called to act. 

“Denver today works with our community partners to support refugee children.  Year over year we serve a few dozen kids, and this grant would expand our capacity to meet a limited demand.”

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