Fort Sill to Receive Hundreds of Unaccompanied Children From Other Countries
From Fort Sill Public Affairs Office
Fort Sill has been identified to support a U.S. federal interagency effort being coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to a recent unexpected influx of unaccompanied children from other countries. Following Joint Base San Antonio and Naval Base Ventura County, the installation becomes the third Department of Defense facility to support this mission.
The children were primarily apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southern U.S. border and are now being cared for by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The installation will receive these children in the coming days and they will be under ACF care. Fort Sill’s headquarters are assisted by U.S. Northern Command on how to best support this important interagency mission.
ACF will provide caretakers for between 600-1200 children that will temporarily reside on the installation. The agency will maintain responsibility to ensure the safety, care and treatment of the unaccompanied minors. Fort Sill will provide a vacant facility historically used by Soldiers set apart from main post that offers sleeping quarters, bathing and toilet facilities, as well as multi-purpose gathering space.
The children may arrive as early as this week and will continue to reside under ACF’s care on the installation until the children can be reunited with their families or placed with a sponsor. Fort Sill anticipates supporting the interagency mission for up to four months or as long as directed. The Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill does not currently assess that its primary mission of training and deploying Soldiers and Marines will be significantly impacted by this temporary arrangement.
Between 600 and 1,200 Unaccompanied Children, mostly from Central America, will be housed in this building on Fort Sill. The building, built in 1986, has 20 sleeping bays that hold 60 beds each. The building was last occupied by soldiers in April.
Photos courtesy Fort Sill Public Affairs