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Refugee Teens Looking for a MI Home for the Holidays

December 12, 2008

Lansing, MI - "Home for the holidays" will be a new home for several dozen teens being resettled from Burma and the Republic of Congo to Michigan this month. They are refugees from wars being waged in their countries and, when they arrive, they will need foster homes and help assimilating to their new culture.

Diane Baird, who supervises the refugee foster care program for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, says the young people need families who can mentor them as they transition to life in the U.S.

"We're asking for a one-year to four-year commitment to help that young person adjust to living in the U.S.; learning English, and pursing a high school diploma."

Families willing to open their hearts and homes can prepare now by going through the training, which is provided by her organization, says Baird.

"We go through the process so that foster families are ready to receive a child and know how to handle some of the cultural differences that come up."

It's a huge change in one's life to invite a young person into your home, admits Baird. It can be challenging, but there are rewards, she says.

"We just finished a research project with Michigan State University and every foster parent that was interviewed said it was a rewarding and positive experience for them."

The state provides reimbursement of room and board to foster families, while Lutheran Social Services of Michigan provides foster parent training.

Information on the foster care program is available at

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI