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Berks County Residential Center




Executive Director
Program Director
Chaplain Ludwig
 Berks County Residential Center
 1243 County Welfare Road
 Leesport, PA  19533
Diane Edwards
David Smith
610-396-0310 ext. 2360, 2361, 2363
610-396-0310 ext. 2312
610-396-0310 ext. 2380
About Department
The Residential Center currently operates the Family Residential Program through a inter-governmental service agreement with the Juvenile and Family Residential Management Unit.
Mission Statement
The Berks County Residential Center is committed to maintaining a safe and caring environment that promotes positive growth and behaviors through competent counselors who display professional spirit.   To ensure our services and policies operate within the legislative framework provided for the protection of children and families in our care.  To ensure a close and co-operative working relationship with JFRMU. 
Core Values
The Berks County Residential Center is an organization that promotes a professional work ethic founded upon:
* Knowledge
Goals & Objectives

The goals and objectives are to continue to meet the requirements set forth in the ICE Family Residential Standards as well as DPW’s residential care guidelines governing the Residential Center’s operation, while striving to design programs to meet the needs of the residents in the program.

Key public Service Areas

Provide necessary and appropriate residential services to eligible immigration families.  Routine medical and dental care is provided on-site, and vaccinations are provided to children.  Recreational activities and special events are planned according to the diverse cultures represented. Adult classes are available in parenting, English as a second language, vocational skills, and arts and crafts.

Scope of Operations

To provide a Family Residential Program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The Residential Center provides for the care and custody of non-violent, non-criminal alien families in a residential setting pending the outcome of their immigration proceedings.  Berks County became the first facility in the United States, and continues to be the only facility in the Country to house families and children together while undergoing immigration proceedings.

Critical Objectives

The Berks County Residential Center provides an avenue for the residents to maintain family unity while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces immigration laws.

Preliminary Performance Highlights

U. S. Immigration and Customes Enforcement has operated the Berks County Residential Center, Family Program since 2001, in order to accommodate alien families in custody.  This facility was designed for non-violent, non-criminal families who have been placed into adminsistrative immigration proceedings. The facility provides an effective humane alternative for alien familites to maintain family unity as they await the outcome of their immigration hearings or return to their home countries. 


All visits must be scheduled through the Caseworkers or Interpreter.  Their numbers can be found at the top of the page.  Unscheduled visits will not be permitted. 


Resident mail must contain the residents full name and the address listed above.  Contraband (i.e.. tobacco products, food) are not permitted to be sent.

About the Juvenile and Family Residential Management Unit

The Juvenile and Family Residential Management Unit (JFRMU) addresses issues that arise when immigration officers encounter unaccompanied alien child (UAC), other minors, and family groups during the course of operations. 

Other JFRMU duties include:

    • Based on best practices, JFRMU manages a residential center for certain families mandatorily detained during removal proceedings.
    • Through intra- and interagency working groups and informal interaction, JFRMU and our counterparts address issues of common concern in the interest of creating efficiencies in the best interest of the children, the families, and the government.   

In addition to addressing general issues alien family groups face, JFRMU manages a Family Residential Program at a center located in Berks, Pennsylvania:

    • The ICE Family Residential Standards provide the framework for this program which is supported by on-site Headquarters staff and which undergoes regular, rigorous compliance inspections.   
    • The Center houses low-level, non-criminal residents in a family-friendly, shelter-like setting.  
    • All residents enjoy open movement and are provided with ongoing medical and mental-health care as well as other supportive services. 
    • School age children are taught by state certified educators in an age- and developmental-appropriate setting. 
    • JFRMU collaborates with other DHS components, federal agencies, and national and international non-governmental organizations on juvenile- and family-immigration issues.
      • JFRMU tracks trends in UAC migration and works proactively with its partners to promote best practices.
      • JFRMU team members serve on interagency working groups and other forums including the congressionally mandated Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention chaired by the Attorney General.

 Construction Progress

Currently our new location (address below) is under construction.  As more information is available on move-in dates we will update the website.  1040 Berks Road, Leesport, PA 19533