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Baltimore-Based Lutheran Immigration And Refugee Services Helps Move Unaccompanied Minors From Facilities To Foster Homes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For months now, we've seen images of federal facilities packed with thousands of unaccompanied minors at a time when there are a record number of children reaching the southern border, most coming from Central America. The sheer volume of children is overwhelming the federal government's resources with thousands of children packed into facilities never meant to handle this amount.

But one Baltimore based organization, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, is working to move kids out of those facilities and into the homes of families eager to help.

When Maryland couple, Catherina and Leonard, saw the images coming from the southern border like of kids sleeping on concrete floors, they were called to act.

"Just seeing this, you know, you wanna help, but we're just two people," Catherina said.

But they knew, even as two people, they could do something. So they signed up to temporarily foster the migrant children, now having fostered over twenty children in their own home.

The couple worked with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, also known as LIRS, to do so.

"Our focus is getting these children out of Customs and Border Protection facilities," said Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, CEO of LIRS.

LIRS pairs kids with foster families across the country, including dozens here in Maryland.

"As we're working to reunify that child with their parent or sports, it's really important that we take care of them and provide the best care in that transitional period," added Vignarajah.

Because the ultimate goal is to reunify the children with their family members that are currently living in the United States, said Leonard.

But in the meantime, Vignarajah says the need is still great as the children continue to arrive at the southern border. "We have seen unprecedented numbers of children coming across the border and so we need more parents than ever before and so if anyone out there is willing to open up their home and hearts, these children could use their care," she said.

Both Leonard and Catherina agree, their experience fostering migrant children has been rewarding.

"The expression of love they give back you back it touches you and it makes you feel really good about what we're doing," Leonard said.

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