Thursday, January 21, 2010

Safe Families in the news: Chicago Sun-Times Article 1/21/2010

State opens arms to evacuees from Haiti
HAITI RELIEF Groups line up homes, hospitals for kids
January 21, 2010
BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist

Sneed hears the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is already in the process of lining up private homes and hospitals to prepare for Haiti's injured, lost or orphaned children.
The evacuees are expected to arrive from Port-au-Prince via 30 United Airlines relief flights. "We are just trying to line up the flight slots now," said a United source.

A plane carrying Haitian evacuees arrived via United Airlines Flight 9902 at O'Hare Airport on Wednesday night. Gov. Quinn, who met the plane, told Sneed: "There is a French expression in the Haitian language we need to take to heart. It means, 'We shall go to the end!'"
"It's really what we in the state and the country need to do to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti. And we shall."

The children were expected to be taken to a shelter and/or hospital Wednesday night after the plane arrived, to determine their medical needs. Sneed is told a planeload of orphaned children from Haiti who landed in Pittsburgh this week were in serious need of immediate medical care.
"Some had tuberculosis, head lice and other diseases ... besides injuries from the earthquake," said a source. "Medical attention for Haitian children arriving in Chicago will be met first before being taken to caring homes."

Sneed also has learned DCFS set plans in motion late Tuesday to accommodate 50 Haitian children. An organization called Safe Families for Children, described as "a group of compassionate Christians who open their homes to children from families in crisis -- before children are taken into state custody," was contacted by DCFS.

Founded in 2002 by Dr. David Anderson, executive director of LYDIA, a Christian social service agency in Chicago, the organization was created in the wake of a deadly summer for children who died at the hand of a parent. "It is intended to provide extended child care for families in crisis," a source said.

Approximately 20 families who attend Willow Creek's North Shore church and are part of Safe Families for Children immediately volunteered to care for the children. "We have been told to prepare, but as of now, we don't know what the ages of the children we will be caring for are.
"We may be in a holding pattern ... but we're ready."

How wonderful. How amazing.

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