Decades after the U.S. stopped institutionalizing kids because large and crowded orphanages were causing lasting trauma, it is happening again. Confidential data obtained by The Associated Press shows the federal government has placed most of the 14,300 migrant toddlers, children and teens in its care in detention shelters and residential facilities packed with hundreds, or thousands, of children.
As the year draws to a close, some 5,400 detained migrant children in the U.S. are sleeping in shelters with more than 1,000 other children. Some 9,800 are in facilities with 100-plus total kids.
That’s a huge shift from just three months after President Donald Trump took office, when the same federal program had 2,720 migrant youth in its care and most were in shelters with a few dozen kids.