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ProPublica Illinois @ProPublicaIL
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1/ A 12-year-old Guatemalan boy named Erik went home this week after four months inside an Illinois shelter for immigrant children. We wrote about him and other kids separated from their parents. Here’s what happened when he was reunited with his family.…
2/ Erik’s mother, father, aunt and grandmother were waiting at the airport in Guatemala City. “I thought I’d never see my mother and father again,” he told @latimes reporter @thecindycarcamo, who documented the reunion. (Photo by Cindy Carcamo)
@latimes @theCindyCarcamo 3/ Erik and his dad were taken into custody after crossing into the U.S. in May. Erik was sent to Chicago and his dad was deported. The father, who can’t read, told @thecindycarmamo he thought he was signing papers that would deport them together.…
@latimes @theCindyCarcamo 4/ Like many children we wrote about being held in @heartlandhelps shelters, Erik struggled being away from his parents. But his case was especially troubling. He became so depressed he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a week. His diagnosis: Adjustment disorder.
@latimes @theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps 5/ While in the custody of @heartlandhelps, Erik was put on at least three medications to control his depression, aggression and emotional outbursts, according to confidential records we obtained. His parents said they never gave permission, @theCindyCarcamo reports.
@theCindyCarcamo 6/ His parents are struggling to decide what to do now that Erik is on risperidone, a powerful antipsychotic, @theCindyCarcamo writes. His mom: “He probably needs the medicine.” His dad: “Those drugs can be addictive. He’ll become dependent on it.”
@theCindyCarcamo 7/ Last week we asked @Heartlandhelps whether shelter staff had asked Erik’s parents for consent before prescribing medication. They declined to answer specific questions about any children, citing privacy concerns.
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps 8/ (Heartland records list him as “Erick”; his parents say the correct spelling is “Erik.”)
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps 9/ The records we have show that a number of kids are on psychotropic drugs and other meds. Here’s a recent partial list of medication for several children at the facility where Erik was held:
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps 10/ Our @propublica colleagues reported on the failure of federally funded shelters to seek informed consent before medicating children, many of whom experienced emotional trauma. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy made that worse.…
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps @ProPublica 11/ Psychological issues are an ongoing concern for immigrant children separated from their parents. A recently filed federal class-action lawsuit seeks funds for mental health treatment.
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps @ProPublica 12/ The confidential Heartland records show how other children separated from their parents tried to hurt themselves and others and thought of ending their lives. One 11-year-old boy told employees, “I want to die here.” Staff told him he needed to live to see his family.
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps @ProPublica 13/ Five children who were forcibly separated from their parents months ago remain in Heartland’s care. Their future, Heartland has said, is uncertain.
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps @ProPublica 14/ A @ProPublicaIL investigation last week found detention for all immigrant children, unaccompanied and those separated from their parents, has gotten longer. Some have been held more than a year. And the longer they wait, the more they despair.…
@theCindyCarcamo @heartlandhelps @ProPublica 15/ We will continue reporting on what happens to immigrant children placed in Illinois shelters. We could use your help. Here’s how you can safely send us tips:
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