Gov. Salvador Jara said Wednesday that he ordered inspections of all the shelters in Michoacan following the discovery of more than 500 children living in squalid conditions at a private facility in the western Mexican state.
“We are going to have to inspect all the shelters carefully, obviously. This is in no way going to be a witch hunt,” the governor told La Z Noticias radio.
The goal is to protect children who are “in a very vulnerable situation,” Jara, who took office last month, said.
Similar problems may be found at other shelters due to the limited resources of many facilities, the governor said.
Army troops and the Federal Police on Tuesday rescued more than 500 children who were living at the La Gran Familia children’s home in the city of Zamora.
The filthy shelter, which opened 40 years ago, housed 600 people, including newborn babies, children and adults older than 40 who slept on the floor, begged in the streets and were subjected to sexual abuse.
The priority now “is to get them out of there and put them in a dignified place,” Jara said.
Comprehensive Family Development System, or DIF, personnel called “crying because of what they found” at the shelter, the governor said.
“The dining room was in bad condition” and “many of them slept on the floor,” Jara said, adding that the allegations of “psychological and sexual abuse” came out in the first statements given by both children and parents.
Officials had been receiving complaints about the shelter for several years, Jara told Milenio Television.
Federal prosecutors have been asked to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation, the governor said.
Shelter operator Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, who is under arrest, is “highly respected in Zamora’s society,” Jara said.