We at Samaritas currently care for 123 unaccompanied minors in foster care or in group homes who emigrated to this country without an adult to guide them. They are part of our Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program, which has cared for youth from foreign lands in America without adult relatives for decades. More than half of the youth are Refugee Minors; those who were given permission prior to entering America prior to arrival, and the other minors arrived here and then were given permission to remain.
In light of recent events at the United States southern border, we are waiting for federal approval to reinstate our Transitional Foster Care program. If approved, we will care for as many as 60 more children waiting at our southern border who have been separated from their parents. Transitional foster care is designed to provide temporary care while family members within the USA are identified, assessed, and approved to provide the care for these children. The children will then be reunified with those family members.
As one of Michigan’s largest child welfare organizations, we strive to first prevent the trauma of removal, but if necessary, help children heal from trauma if separated from their families. Our commitment to this is evidenced in our domestic foster care program where we have dramatically reduced the number of children separated from parents by developing prevention programs in partnership with government partners. Like the domestic programs, the transitional foster care programs have been put in place at the urging of our federal government.