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Immigration/Refugees

Support Immigrant Children Separated from Their Families

Tracy Huggins Jones

How to support Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC).

As you may know, the Post & Courier published an article 6/19 reporting 5 immigrant children separated from their parents are currently with foster families in SC. Want to help these children and others? Here is the information I rcvd today from LSC. You can also give monetary support on the LSC website

Thank you for your interest in our program and for reaching out to see how you can get involved. Transitional Foster Care is the least restrictive environment that immigrant children can be in, while still being in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Located in Columbia, S.C, our program serves children who are usually from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, and have made dangerous journeys to the United States to reunite with family, flee violence and the pressure to join gangs, and/or to escape abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their parents.

Traditionally, our program has cared for unaccompanied children who made the dangerous journey to the United States alone, unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Due to recent changes in the application of policy, we are now called upon to also provide care for young children who have been separated from their parents, effectively making them unaccompanied children. While Lutheran Services Carolinas does not support this change in application of policy, we are committed to doing our best for these children who have been through horrible ordeals.

After being detained by authorities, the children are typically placed in adult immigration detention centers. Many of those under the age of 12 will then be referred to transitional foster care programs like ours. We provide education, therapy and medical services during their stay with us. Children spend Monday to Friday attending classes, group and individual therapy, and field trips in the local community. Each afternoon, children are picked up by their foster parents where they go home to a loving family environment.

The goal of the LSC program is to provide safe and stable living environments for the children while they wait for immigration hearings and more permanent living situations with sponsors, such as parents or other relatives. The ultimate goal is for family reunification within 90 days, whether that is in the U.S. or the child’s home country.

So, the big question many people have is: How can I help?

• Become a foster parent! The process is the same as the Department of Social Services and Christy Chavis would be happy to give you more info cchavis@lscarolinas.net (803) 348-7416. Foster parents are provided with a daily stipend and a clothing allowance for each child.

• Volunteer in our classroom! Flexible hours between 9am-4pm, Monday through Friday. Activities include reading, coloring, and playing with our kiddos! Background checks are required. Please email rgibson@lscarolinas.net for the Volunteer Application.

• Invite us to speak at your church or community group! Help us spread the word about our program and learn more about why children are risking their lives to seek safety in the U.S.

• Donate! Please see below for our Donation Request List.

Donation Request List:

• New large suitcases or large duffel bags (for children to use when they travel to reunite with family)
• Gift cards to Walmart, Target, or (to get birthday treats and prizes for children)
• Michaels Gifts Cards for Arts and Craft supplies (our kids LOVE arts and crafts but those supplies are expensive!)
• Spanish children’s bibles
• TFC Amazon Wishlist
• TFC Amazon Book Wishlist

Donations can be sent to: Lutheran Services Carolinas

TFC Program
1118 Union St.
Columbia SC 29201

Thank you again for reaching out to us. We are so thankful for the support and outpouring of love that children like ours have received in recent weeks. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have questions or other concerns we may be of help with.

Sincerely,

Christy Chavis, MA
Licensing and Recruiting Specialist
Lutheran Services Carolinas
UC Transitional Foster Care
3120 Kay Street
Columbia, SC. 29210
Cell: (803) 348-7416
cchavis@lscarolinas.net

View our immigration resources page.

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