The number of children crossing the border into the United States has been increasing over the past few years, and reception centers in 2012 were maxed out—leaving little room and less than desirable living conditions for the children who were temporarily housed in an assortment of locations to receive the necessary and required services needed to secure and assure their safety and well-being.
But thanks to your prayers, LIRS recently received a government grant to provide transitional foster care services to many of these children. The new sites are in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan and Portland, Oregon opened September 5th and now cares for 51 children—giving them shelter, food, clothing, school, medical care, counseling, and assisting them in communicating with their family members.
Prior to the establishment of these sites, children were being housed in temporary detention centers which included unused army bases, often feeling like prisons. LIRS believes in providing children with the least restrictive care that meets the best interest of each child within a community-based setting. This setting offers more holistic approach so children can thrive while they and their potential caregiver (either their family in the U.S. or foster care) are screened and evaluated for safety.
These new sites are a natural development of LIRS’ long-running children services programs, which care for children within a variety of foster care settings when they have no family. And they help children successfully reunite with their parents or other identified caregivers as they leave federal custody. Through the help of local partners on the ground, we strive to see that children receive community-based care that focuses on school enrollment, health care, home adjustment, safety, permanency, and addresses their legal issues.
Please pray that this new program will help many immigrant children successfully adjust to life in the U.S., and that the system recognizes the need for more foster care services rather than detention facilities through the example of our program. And thanks again for partnering with us to make services like these possible!