Eli Hager is a reporter covering issues affecting children and teens in the Southwest.
He joined ProPublica from the Marshall Project, where as a staff writer for six years he focused primarily on juvenile justice, family court, foster care, schools and other issues affecting youth. A two-time Livingston Award finalist and three-time finalist for the Education Writers Association’s national award, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Guardian, New York Magazine, USA Today, NPR and elsewhere.
Hager’s investigation of juvenile justice agencies that bill parents for their children’s incarceration led to the practice being banned in Philadelphia the day after the story published and later statewide in California. After publishing a yearlong investigation of deaths, crashes, escapes and abuses on for-profit prisoner transport vans, the Justice Department launched a probe of the industry. Most recently, his investigation of “short-stayers” in New Mexico — kids taken from their families by police and placed in foster care only to be returned days later because the removal was unnecessary — helped prompt legislation that will require social workers, not cops, to perform all child removals.
Hager is based in Phoenix.