MI agency taking in kids from immigration crisis has ties to Trump administration

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 15:10:15-04

The 7 Investigators are digging deeper into Bethany Christian Services the only Michigan agency taking in more than 50 kids from the Immigration Crisis on the U.S. Mexico border. Bethany is based in Grand Rapids but also has an office in Madison Heights. We are not being told of any of the kids have been placed in metro Detroit. 

The front of the Bethany Services Building in Grand Rapids also has a sign on it that says The Betty Van Andel Center For Global Ministries. Another big, deep pockets family name who was inside, DeVos. Brian DeVos was a senior vice president of Bethany and is a cousin by marriage to President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

During a local cable TV interview three years ago, Brian DeVos said, “A child coming into foster care is very traumatic for them to be removed from their biological parents. And the first goal is to always reunify the children with their biological families. So we really work hard to keep their families together.”

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights says they’ve been told some of the older boys brought up from Texas have been placed at a facility near Grand Rapids.  

According to an MLive news story last year, that facility was going through a three year expansion at a cost of $12.4 million. Half of that money was donated by David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center is monitoring what Bethany is doing and tells me a few of the kids have been reunited with their parents who were deported out of the U.S. 

Bethany and the MIRC won’t say how much Bethany is being paid but the standard rate paid by the feds is about $600 per child per day. 

Bethany Christian Services would not answer specific questions but provided this FAQ sheet to 7 Action News.

FAQs About Family Separation and Reunification by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Earlier versions of this online story said Brian DeVos was still with Bethany Christian Services.

A spokesperson now tells 7 Action News Brian DeVos was a Senior VP at Bethany until May of this year. The spokesperson says DeVos left the organization before it took in children in the Immigration Crisis.