- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Three immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the border are still in the care of a Kansas nonprofit working under contract with the federal government, former U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Wednesday.

The latest update on the status of immigrant children detained in Kansas came in a meeting Grissom and House Minority Leader Jim Ward attended with Sylvia Crawford, the executive director of the nonprofit The Villages Inc., along with Kansas child welfare officials and three other Democratic legislators.

“We left feeling confident that the children are being treated in best way possible, that how they were being treated at the facility in Topeka in no way resembles the kind of images we saw of how children were being treated in Texas,” Grissom said.

The group was told 10 or fewer children detained in Kansas had been separated at the border, and all but three of them have since been reunited with their families. Those efforts continue for the remaining children.

While the group was not specifically informed as to why those three children have not yet been reunited with family, Ward said he didn’t get any sense from the conversation that they wouldn’t be expeditiously reunited.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families said Monday that a staff member visited The Villages on Friday at the request of Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer. The inspection looked at four group homes it operates outside of Topeka. The agency said that of the 44 children in placement, nine were separated from their parents and the rest were unaccompanied minors.

Grissom had earlier assembled a team of lawyers to provide legal services to the kids after reports surfaced that separated immigrant children had been brought to Kansas. He said they already have other legal representation.

“My worst fears weren’t realized,” Grissom said. “When I was apprised of what services had been offered to these children and the environment these children had been placed in during what I am sure was an incredibly, incredibly stressful time, I was very impressed.”

All the children also had their family contact information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers of parents and relatives in the U.S. and in their country of origin, Grissom said.

“It’s heartening to confirm the displaced children are being reintegrated with their families,” Ward said. “That’s been our goal from the day we heard they were placed in Kansas.”

Ward said he and other lawmakers will tour the facility in early July.

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