GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan is one of several places around the nation housing refugee children who were separated from their parents at the United States-Mexico border.
Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services told 24 Hour News 8 Monday that 50 of the 58 children in its refugee foster care program were forcibly removed from their parents at the southern border.
The number of displaced migrant children has been growing for months, according to Dona Abbott, Bethany's director of refugee and immigrant programs.
"We started seeing it in April, we saw a growing number," Abbott said.
She explained that the agency has been helping find foster families for kids as young as 8 months, but their ultimate goal is to get families back together.
She recalled stories she has recently heard from foster parents as migrant children process their removal from family members.
"Children talking about not having a chance to say goodbye to mom or dad, often going to the foster home crying, crying throughout the night, having nightmares, waking up calling for mom and dad," Abbot listed. "You sincerely hope that people will understand separating children from their parents is not the solution."