EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Some of the immigrant children being housed in New York foster care facilities after being separated from their parents at the southern border need psychological counseling for the traumatizing ordeal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday, a day after visiting one of the agencies caring for some of the hundreds of displaced kids the federal government sent to the state.
The Democrat, who visited an undisclosed foster care facility in Westchester County on Thursday, said some of the kids were in a state of shock and highly traumatized by being taken from their parents.
The governor is demanding that federal authorities provide more details on the estimated 700 immigrant children sent to foster care agencies in New York state after being separated from their parents.
"I'm saying as a governor, they're in my state, it's my constitutional responsibility to take care of their health and welfare, why won't you tell me where they are," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said New York state is home to one of the largest foster-care networks in the nation. He said members of his administration are canvassing facilities across the state in an attempt to get an accurate head count of the children in federal custody.
According to the governor, the federal government has been moving children around the country looking for places to house them.
"The complication is not only did HHS send children to our state without our knowledge, they put a gag order on the foster care agencies and they don't want the foster care agencies telling us which is just bizarre," Cuomo said. "Why would you not want the state to help provide services?"
The Council General from Honduras met and spoke with several children at the Cayuga Center in East Harlem on Friday. There are 200 Honduran children between that center and another one in the Bronx.
He said that sometimes the children are better served with an aunt, uncle or other relative who is already established in the U.S. rather than with their own parents who have been deported.
Many of the kids might end up staying in New York with foster families. Eventually they would go to city schools and NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said they are welcome.
"We don't ask for immigration status, we don't require proof of immigration status, if you are here, you have a right to an education," Carranza said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Cuomo outraged over lack of information on migrant children in New York State