Yolo County has assumed responsibility for a teenage Honduran refugee who has been held in a detention facility for nearly a year after he entered the country.
The 14-year-old arrived at the Texas border last year after fleeing severe child abuse in Honduras and traveling alone from Central America through Mexico. He was granted asylum Jan. 10, and has been held at the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Center in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Yolo County stepped up, requesting custody of the teen, who has no criminal record, as the county's Health and Human Services Agency began seeking a "suitable placement" for him.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement relinquished custody of the teen Tuesday.
“Acting quickly and consistent with the value of ‘doing right by others’ the county has taken steps to place the child with a facility that can provide suitable care, housing and other services,” county officials said in a news release. The placement was expected to take place Tuesday.
Public outcry preceded these steps in moving the child out of a detention facility, which has perpetuated the trauma he suffered in his abusive home and during his terrifying journey to America, according to a San Francisco Chronicle story.
Youth advocates, Indivisible Yolo, and U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, are among those who have taken an interest in the teen, the Chronicle story said.
The efforts of these supporters have given the teen hope for his future.
“I want to say thank you to everyone for everything they’re doing for me,” he said through his lawyer, Cecilia Candia of Legal Service for Children, a non-profit group that provides free legal services to children.