Families Interested in Fostering Unaccompanied Children from Central America "Pray" For Guidance

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bay Area families looking to help unaccompanied minors from Central America attended an informational meeting Tuesday to get a better understanding on what it will take to serve as a host family for the children. Nannette Miranda reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    Bay Area families looking to help unaccompanied minors from Central America attended an informational meeting Tuesday to get a better understanding on what it will take to serve as a host family for the children.

    Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County held the informational meeting and is hoping to find host families who can care for the unaccompanied kids.

    "It's heartbreaking," Newark-resident Daniel Hellpap said.

    Roughly 3,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have settled in California to date. The issue has had an effect on Hellpap, whose wife is from Honduras. The couple wanted to help and attended Tuesday's meeting.

    "My wife and I prayed about it," Hellpap said. "So there was some guidance there."

    Hellpap and his wife were part of a group of 80 people who attended the informational meeting on how to become a host family for the newly arrived children.

    Attendees learned being a host family will be hard and challenging, but will have their extra expenses covered and help at their fingertips.

    Gregory Kepferle with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County said professional staff, 24-hour on-call services, therapists and support groups will be available to host families.

    The Stephensons of Oakland took in an unaccompanied minor from Vietnam three years ago. The family said after the language barrier eased, they have found fostering rewarding.

    "It's been an amazing experience," Susan Stephenson said. "Really fulfilling for us."

    Hellpap said he's ready to take two siblings.

    "I love kids," he said. "I like to be with kids and work with kids."

    Catholic Charities said it may need homes for as many as 50 children. People interested must pass a minimum two-month process of background checks, training and certification to become a host family.