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AZ lawmaker wants probe into Southwest Key facilities

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 21:17:31-04

Southwest Key Programs has been under scrutiny for years. The Dallas News reports the non-profit has received $1.5 billion from the federal government in the last decade.

The organization has been doing business in Arizona -- including here in Tucson -- for years. And state lawmakers have been concerned about the welfare of the children in its care.

Representative Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff says he's been trying to investigate this non-profit. He called for a probe a few years ago after the surge of unaccompanied minors from Guatamala and Honduras crossing the southern border in 2013 -- some ended up in Tucson.

He says he joined the efforts of two U.S. Senators, who were concerned that children were being abused and neglected, but Thorpe says when the controversy died down, so did the interest. 

With this next surge of interest, he says he's getting bi-partison support in Arizona to take necessary steps to examine the southwest key facilities. "If they're going to be secretive and stonewall us another approach that we might consider taking at a state level is to revoke their licenses throughout the state," said Thorpe.

KGUN9 tried to get information on the locations of facilities in Arizona. A Southwest Key official told us that they will not release that information because of security reasons.