Reaction to more charges at the Baptiste Group migrant shelter
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Baptiste Group’s involvement in a local church housing migrant children has elicited both state and national attention.
“They are making this more of a political effort than one of in
regards to what happens with the children,” says Representative Yusuf Hakeem, responding to a state committee’s efforts to investigate the travel of unaccompanied migrant children through Tennessee.
The committee is made up of only Republican representatives.
The state Department of Children Services has suspended the child care
license for the facility, transferring all children on June 22nd.
“I think that the Baptiste Group is caught in the middle of a
political war between the administrations. Prior administrations and
this administration,” says Rep. Hakeem.
Representative Robyn Smith says questions remain about the Baptiste
Group’s activity within the shelter, in light of two staff members
being charged with sexual battery.
“It’s very concerning to see that while there was a plan that was
submitted by the Baptiste Group offering what would happen and how
these children would be cared for, there is behavior and activity that
clearly is not serving the best interest of these children,” she says.
She defended the state committee’s efforts to investigate the
“We can do our part at the state while allowing these agencies and
these wonderful law enforcement officers to do their jobs.”
Officials from the Baptiste Group have not spoken publicly about the
incident and were not available when reached for comment today.