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Faith-Based Foster Care Rescues Immigrant Kids from 'Tent City' while Helping Reunite them with Parents

Faith-Based Foster Care Rescues Immigrant Kids from 'Tent City' while Helping Reunite them with Parents Read Transcript

- [Reporter] For the lasttwo years, foster parents,

Silas and Coryn, havewelcomed immigrant children

into their Michigan home.

These children oftenarrive alone at the border

and the government overseestheir care while it

locates their families.

- We pick 'em up from theairport at like midnight.

So they're coming tothis brand new country,

this new state, this new home,

people that don't speak their language.

- Silas and Coryn receivedtheir training from Grand Rapids

based Bethany Christian Services.

It's become a leadingprovider of family-based care

for immigrant children.

For almost 40 years, Bethanyhas helped kids showing up

alone at the border.

Then this spring came a newand surprising development.

The children began tellingtheir foster parents how they

came with their parents andthen were taken from them

by the government.

It was part of thecontroversial and short-lived

zero tolerance policy.

- They didn't know that theyweren't gonna see their parents

again in many cases.

So, these children wereseparated, they were taken,

put on a bus or airplane,and they had no idea where

they were going or what was happening.

- [Heather] Silas and Corynwelcomed four children,

ages three to nine.

- We saw a lot of trauma,a lot of nightmares,

stomach aches, headaches.

- [Heather] Adam and Rachel'sfoster child told her

counselor how she saw Honduranpolice shoot her grandmother.

After the girl and herfather fled to the US,

she watched border agents take him away.

- As a four year old, she justhad such a heavy, heavy soul

from that and from justconstantly reliving being torn

away from her dad.

And so I think what we sawwas those two traumatic

experiences just compounded on the

four year old's shoulders.

There was times where,yeah, it would crush her.

- I was very frustratedwatching it play out on the news

and seeing both sides of thestory, because I think there

were a lot of peoplewho also didn't get it.

I think until you areface to face with it,

until you are tucking thatcrying kid in at night and

rubbing their back andlaying with them and hearing

their stories, like, youdon't understand the magnitude

of what they're going through.

- [Heather] Under the policy,the government took 2400

children from their parents.

Today, almost all are backwith family, either in the US

or their home country.

Still, foster parents are inhigh demand because of children

who come alone to the US.

Right now, a staggering13,000 are in federal custody.

Bethany can only care for 100,so the government puts many

of the kids in emergency facilities.

This is a new tent city inTexas where 1500 youth live

while they wait to bereunited with family.

- Kids should never haveto stay in a tent city.

Kids should never beapart from their parents.

It just shows you how desperatethings are that kids are

hearing about this and theparents are still sending them.

- We know in this country thatchildren are best cared for

in a family setting.

That's what we do in our owndomestic foster care city.

We don't place thousands ofchildren who are in foster care

in one large tent city,where we promote foster homes

and foster care placement,'cause we know that's

what's best for children.

These children are no different.

- [Heather] Experts blamegovernment red tape for the high

number of immigrant kidsstill in government custody.

One reason, a new rule tookeffect this year requiring

all members of a householdtaking in children

to be fingerprinted.

That has increased the wait time.

Now the Trump administrationhas changed that rule,

and there's hope that the number of kids

in shelters will drop.

All this at a time thatfoster parents are recovering

from a year they never expected.

- Obviously,

kids being separated from their parents

is not God's vision of theworld, and so how do we step in

to the kingdom work that hehas for us to solve that?

- [Heater] Coryn and Silasmarvel at the resiliency

displayed by their childrenand hope they can recover

and receive what they need tosomeday achieve their dreams.

- One of the little boyswe just had, his dream was

to be a firefighter or policeofficer, so they have these

big dreams and we can justhope they get the opportunity

to realize those.

- Going forward, Bethany hopesto expand its foster program

for the children who continueto pour across the border.

It also wants their homecountries and the US to address

the issues that causedtheir families to flee

in the first place.

Reporting in Grand Rapids,Heather Sells, CBN News.

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