Denver’s Department of Human Services plans to send “abandoned or endangered” children to various receiving centers around the city during the Democratic National Convention. Many protesters will bring their kids with them to rallies, and the department has prepared to house and feed these children in the case that their parents are arrested.
“We really expect the vast majority of demonstrators to do it peacefully,” says Benilda Samuels, Denver DHS spokeswoman. “But we would be remiss if we were not prepared. We hope not to see any kids in our system.”
Samuels would not disclose the location of the receiving areas. She likens them to day-care centers, calling them “comfortable places for the kiddos to be while their parents’ situation is being taken care of.” Children who spend longer than 24 hours in a center will be sent to foster care. But Samuels says that will be a rarity.
“We don’t expect a whole lot of children to be with us beyond 23 hours and 59 minutes, actually.”
Tennyson Center, a school and treatment facility for abused children in northwest Denver, will serve as a back-up receiving center in the case that others are full.
According to a memo obtained by the Colorado Independent, dozens of child placement agencies have been contacted about arranging extra foster care placement during the DNC.
Several metro counties are working together to plan for “emergency placements,” according to the memo, sent via e-mail by a placement services supervisor with Adams County Social Services Department. The e-mail was sent to 43 child placement agencies in early July. “The state is involved and aware that overloads may need to happen during the week,” reads the e-mail. “It is anticipated that most placements will be short term.”