Samaritas Braces for Influx of Young Refugees from the Southern Border

DETROIT - Samaritas, one of Michigan’s largest nonprofit health and human service agencies, is seeking aid from community groups and individuals to help them care for the young refugees poised to arrive in Michigan from the Southern border of Mexico in the next few weeks. Latino children between the ages of 5 and 17 will come to Michigan for reunification with family and friends or to be placed with a foster parent until a suitable guardian is found. Advocates for these vulnerable young children can call (833) 605-HOPE (4673) to inquire about the foster care licensing process.

“With the expiration of Title 42, we anticipate the arrival of more young Spanish-speaking children who’ll need care until their distant family members are found. They are vulnerable, and we only have a finite number of licensed foster homes to shelter them,” said Kevin Van DenBosch, COO of Samaritas. “These defenseless minors need people to care for them while they are healing from the trauma of fleeing dangerous conditions in Central American countries.”

Samaritas Refugee Youth Services are for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) and Unaccompanied Children  (UC) from many countries. URMs are refugees under 18 without family or guardians to care for them. UC refers to children under 18 who enter this country without formal documentation and without a parent or legal guardian. However, some may have a parent/guardian living elsewhere in the US.

Samaritas is working with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a federal partner, to help these children find placement with family or sponsors. Once in Michigan, the children will remain with Samaritas for 30 to 45 days until the agencies identify families or sponsors for each child. When a family or sponsor is not recognized, they stay in a Samaritas long-term care shelter named “Camino a Casa.”

Through Samaritas, refugees master the English language, get educated, find jobs, and become contributing tax-paying citizens. Many of these individuals go on to build successful businesses, provide job opportunities and revitalize neighborhoods.

Samaritas is one of a few Michigan agencies trusted to resettle people fleeing from their native country. Visit Samaritas.org/MichiganRefugeeNetwork to donate, volunteer, or partner with them to fortify housing, interpretation, transportation, and mentorship resources.

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