A spokesman for Southwest Key, Jeff Eller, said on Sunday it could not legally require children to stay on the premises if they sought to leave, and that “from time to time” children had left several of its 27 shelters for immigrant children.
“We are not a detention center,” Mr. Eller said in a statement. “We talk to them and try to get them to stay. If they leave the property, we call law enforcement.”
Federal officials echoed that position, saying they could not stop a child who attempted to leave. The officials did not respond to a question about how many children had walked away from migrant centers nationwide.
Here is the rest of the NYT article, it has further points of interest.