‘Child Crisis Grows on Border’ — Houston Chronicle Cites Kim Haynes, LIRS Director for Children’s Services

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Houston Chronicle LogoThe Houston Chronicle reported today on the surge of children crossing into the United States seeking protection. The number has tripled since 2011, the Chronicle reports, when 8,843 children fled to the United States. In 2013, more than 21,000 children made the journey alone.

In the article, “Child Crisis Grows on Border,” reporter Susan Carroll shows how children are seeking refuge from danger in their home countries. She depicts the critical need to strengthen and widen our country’s safety net in order to accommodate the rapid increase in children. LIRS Director for Children’s Services, Kimberly Haynes, describes the situation to Carroll:

“They are being forced out,” said Kimberly Haynes, director for children’s services at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “This is an absolute humanitarian crisis.”

Carroll goes on to quote a boy who was recently apprehended on the border with his four-year-old nephew. The two had traveled 1,200 miles to find safety.

Carroll reports:

Jairo Adonay, the teenager from Honduras who surrendered to the constable along with his nephew, shook his head when he was asked if he knew what would happen once they landed in detention.

He said he only knew they couldn’t stay in Honduras any longer. “The situation in my country is ugly,” he said.

Experts agree that more must be done to guarantee the security of these children. Wendy Young, Executive Director of the advocacy organization, Kids in Need of Defense, told Carroll. “We have to really … pause and say, ‘What do we need to do to create a safety net for these children?’ ”

LIRS works hard to protect these vulnerable children. Along with our local partners, we reunite children with their families and provide foster care services for those who have no family. We ensure that children receive the services they need for a bright future, and walk alongside both foster and biological parents to help them support their family.

We appreciate the Houston Chronicle and Susan Carroll for bringing this issue to the forefront.

If this crisis moves you, please consider becoming a foster parent and welcoming children who might have no one else to turn to into your home. If you’d like to know more about becoming a foster parent, you can direct inquiries to childrenservices@lirs.org. You can also urge your representative to support immigration reform and family unity through our Action Center.

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