Toll-free hotline to find detained children

In recent weeks several media outlets have reported on the thousands of children being detained trying to cross the U.S. border, calling the situation a humanitarian crisis.

Due to the large number of children fleeing their countries arriving here, detention centers cannot accommodate them.

Parents and family members who want to know if these children made it across the border and are inside a detention center for immigrant minors now have a resource to find them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) this month began operating a toll-free hotline for parents trying to locate their children within their shelters.

The hotline number for parents is 1-800-203-7001 and it works 7 days a week 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Western Time).

When calling the hotline, have as much information about the child as possible available, including the child's full legal name, date and place of birth, and possible point of entry into the United States.

For security reasons, since the operator will have no way of verifying whether the caller is the parent or relative of the minor, they will not be able to confirm whether a child is in the care of the ORR.

The operator will take down the caller's information and if the child is in ORR custody, the family member's information will be sent to the center where the child is housed. Someone from the center where the child is staying will contact the child's relatives.

If the family member does not receive a call from an ORR center official, the child may still be in the custody of the ORR center. U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If so, they will have to wait until the child is transferred to an ORR center.

Please note that the hotline can only be used to locate children who have crossed the border, have been apprehended and are in an undocumented juvenile detention center.