It’s official.  Starr Commonwealth in Albion will provide temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, detained at the US-Mexican border.

A release from Starr Commonwealth details the partnership with the Federal Government.

“Starr has signed a facilities agreement to allow the Administration for Children and Families to utilize its 350-acre campus as a safe haven. ACF intends to provide temporary shelter for up to 240 unaccompanied migrant children ages 12 and younger as it works to unite them with their family or sponsors.”

 

To protect the safety of the children, Starr has been asked not to share certain details about their arrival and care.

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62nd State Representative Jim Haadsma said Friday that he and 19th District State Senator Dr. John Bizon were made aware of the plans in a Zoom meeting on Thursday.  Haadsma said he believed that Starr Commonwealth would be submitting a budget to the Federal Government sometime Friday.   Haadsma confirmed that Community Action was working to assist in hiring staff.    Most of the residential staff at Starr Commonwealth was let go after they lost a state contract last summer.

“For more than a century, our campus has served as a safe haven for children in need,” said Starr President and CEO Elizabeth Carey. “We have again been called to open our hearts and our campus as a refuge – this time to children arriving without parents or guardians at our southern border.  When asked to help, we said yes – immediately and enthusiastically, just as our founder, Floyd Starr, would want us to do. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the Albion community and beyond, with so many kind and generous organizations and people reaching out with offers of help and messages of encouragement.”

Starr has 17 cottages that can house up to 240 children and caregivers. The campus also has a gymnasium, cafeteria, school buildings, chapel, ball fields, track, and a lakeside park.

ACF is providing bilingual caregivers who have a background in child welfare or development to care for the children while on the Starr campus. The organization expects each child will stay 30 days or less.

All children will be screened for COVID-19 before traveling to Michigan. They will also be screened for COVID again upon their arrival to campus. Those testing positive will quarantine in one of two cottages on campus so their illness does not spread.

 

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