A former preschool for young children in the Mexican state of Mexico is now being used as a day care for homeless children in Mexico City, where some parents say they were abused while working in the facility.
The orphanage at the San Antonio Mission, located in the small city of San Antonio, serves as a center for families with children under the age of 5.
It is also home to a program for families to reunite with their adopted children, and a foster care for children of immigrants from the U.S. The orphanage, which opened in April 2017, was one of several that have been operating in Mexico in recent years, including in the state of Guerrero.
But the San Francisco-based nonprofit has not operated there for nearly a year.
Now, after the organization began operating, it is also the only orphanage for children in a Mexican state that does not provide free care for the homeless, the New York Times reported.
The organization is trying to build its brand in Mexico, and the mission’s founders have reportedly been asked by some families to donate more money for the care.
The nonprofit is hoping to attract more families to the project and to have its children attend preschool classes, according to the Times.
According to the Los Angeles Times, some parents of homeless children said that they felt intimidated by the facility, which is located at a park on a quiet street.
“When you are homeless, you are not the kind of person who wants to go to a daycare,” one mother told the Times, adding that she was afraid the children would be separated from their families.
Others said that the children did not understand why they were being treated differently than other families, and said they felt like the orphanage was not doing enough to provide them with safe shelter.
The New York Daily News reported that some families were not even able to visit the facility because the staff did not have permits to stay in Mexico.
In another case, a father who had been working at the orphanages for more than a decade was told he could not stay for the day because he was not eligible to work there.
“The children are scared,” said the father, who did not want to be named to avoid retribution from the San Diego Mission.
“The people who are working there don’t know about this problem.”
According to local media, the facility also had a record of violating its own regulations when it came to staffing and the conditions of children, including children being housed in a “hotel room” and other accommodations that violated the state’s child welfare law.
“This is not the first time we’ve seen something like this,” said Jorge Paredes, director of the nonprofit.
“We have to be vigilant to keep this from happening again.”
He said that in the past, there had been some cases of abuse at the facility and that there had also been “mistakes made by staff” in regards to the children’s health.
He said the children had received medical treatment at the Mission, but said that he did not know whether the facility had been inspected for health issues and whether the staff were on vacation at the time.
“We are looking into all the issues that happened,” Paredas said.