News that Devereux had been granted a $40.2 million contract with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to house migrant young people became public in September 2019. The decision to shelter children there had been protested by the facility’s Devon neighbors — the ORR program is an extension of the federal migrant detention centers that have caused widespread outcry in Berks County and across the country.
Word that Devereux is backing out of housing migrant children at the Devon site comes after Inquirer reporters detailed how 41 children had been raped or abused at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health locations over the past quarter-century. Following the Inquirer report, the City of Philadelphia temporarily stopped sending children to the organization, and 14 of 17 members of City Council have called for the complete termination of all city contracts with the company.
On Sept. 20, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, (D-PA), wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ acting inspector general, urging her to “immediately investigate allegations of sexual abuse and neglect at shelters for migrant youth operated by Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, and what the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is doing to protect children within their care.”