Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough charity to take in 27 immigrant children

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County shelter may soon become the second Tampa Bay area nonprofit organization to house Central and South American children from this year's deluge of immigrants illegally crossing the border, federal officials confirmed Monday.

The Children's Home near Tampa has been approved to house 27 children, according to Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

Wolfe declined to disclose just where the children will be housed and when they will arrive. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said Monday she expects the children to arrive later this year.

Castor did not know exactly where the Children's Home would house the children. Officials at the Children's Home declined to comment, referring all questions to Wolfe.

The charity operates a 100-bed shelter on Memorial Highway in Town 'N Country for children who have dealt with abuse or neglect.

Castor does not expect the arrival of children who have fled poverty and violence in countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to cause controversy in Hillsborough like elsewhere. Some residents near other shelters across the country that have taken in the immigrant children have protested, asserting they could be gang members or carry communicable diseases.

"Most people realize these children are running for their lives. They're not gang members; they are running from gangs," Castor said.

Since October, nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border from Mexico and entered U.S. custody, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Children's Home is the second bay area nonprofit group to agree to take in some of these children. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services has taken in an undisclosed number of children at a shelter in Holiday.

Like the youngsters in the Pasco County shelter, children who come to the Children's Home's shelter will stay there temporarily while the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement searches for relatives or guardians who can care for them. The average child has stayed there 17 days before being sent to a guardian, according to Rochelle Tatrai-Ray, CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community services.

Tatrai-Ray's organization is applying to expand its Pasco shelter from 16 to 32 beds, so it can accommodate more immigrants. The application has drawn opposition from some neighbors.

"I hope not," Castor said Monday when asked if she expected neighbors to the Children's Home to protest. "This community has a history of welcoming immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. ... We're a diverse community. I do not anticipate an uproar."

Contact Will Hobson at whobson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @TheWillHobson.

Hillsborough charity to take in 27 immigrant children 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business

    Corporate

    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  2. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  3. On average, a quarter of Transformation Zone staff not returning next school year

    Blogs

    Combined, nearly one in four teachers staffed at eight schools in the Pinellas County school district's Transformation Zone will not return to their school in the fall.

  4. New Port Richey police investigating shooting that left one man wounded

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A man was shot and wounded Saturday after police said he assaulted a restaurant employee.

  5. What to watch this week: 'Still Star-Crossed' on ABC, 'House of Cards' Season 5

    Blogs

    MONDAY

    Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey in House of Cards Season 5.