Over half of the children that are being held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Detention Center are unaccompanied minors who entered the country illegally, reports The Richmond-Times Dispatch. The facility has had a federal contract for the past five years to hold the undocumented children.
The detention center, located in Verona, serves as a juvenile detention center for four cities and three counties. This includes Augusta, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties, in addition to Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro.
A 2013 report released by the facility stated that almost 1,400 children filter through every year, with the daily population being around 30. Currently there are 24 children there who entered the country illegally, according to Augusta County Administrator Pat Coffield who chairs the regional board for the center.
Coffield also holds that the amount of funding received from the federal government covers the rate charged to member jurisdictions and sufficiently covers the cost of housing the minors. Because of this, the facility has not lost money.
The contract is set up with the Department of Health and Human Services, and their Office of Refugee Resettlement decides which children qualify for the Unaccompanied Children’s Services Program.