Homes and mentors needed for refugee children

By September 10, 2013
Foster family with Bethany Christian Services.

Foster family with Bethany Christian Services.

USA (MNN) — Caring for refugees is a high priority for Bethany Christian Services. Known for adoption and foster care, Bethany is providing care through their unaccompanied alien children program.

Where do these children come from? President of Bethany Christian Services Bill Blacquiere says the United States allows orphaned refugee children into the country. “These young children are in refugee camps. And, our government admits them into the United States because they have no parents or relatives to take care of them.”

Countries around the world have been taking in refugees for decades. Blacquiere says the United States has been a leader in this effort worldwide.

Blacquiere says Bethany does more than bring them to the U.S. “We help them get an education, prepare them for employment, and many of them go to college and gainful employment. Bethany has been doing this since Vietnam.”

How do they help these unaccompanied alien children? “We use volunteer foster families, mentors, churches, and other people who help with getting the children and young people transitioned into life here in the United States.”

Misconceptions come with the program. Blacquiere says many believe these young people end up on welfare and being cared for by the state. He says, that’s just not true. Actually, ” 99% of them become gainfully employed, go to college, and become very productive citizens in the United States.”

Christians have a responsibility to take care of four types of people. “That is the poor, the orphan, the widow and the refugee.”

Blacquiere says it’s important that Christians help. Why? “These children are very vulnerable, vulnerable to sex trafficking, and other exploitation. We as a Christian community need to bless them and help them from childhood to adulthood.”

Many of these young people are victims, not just because of their ethnicity. “Many of these children are also persecuted for their Christian beliefs. The children from Burma are strong Christian young people were persecuted there because they are Christians.”

He says the bottom line is: it takes a village. “We want that to be a Christian village. We want them involved in church. Many of them do want to pursue a career in ministry. Most of them have high hopes that they’ll return to their country.”

Blacquiere says they need foster families, mentors, and supporters. If you’d like to help, go to http://www.bethany.org/main/refugee-foster-care.

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