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By Mark Abrams and Noel McLaren

WOMELSDORF, Pa. (CBS) — Three area congressmen says their factfinding mission in central Pennsylvania found that a private children’s home in Berks County is providing temporary housing for youngsters illegally crossing the Mexican border into the United States.

Congressmen Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan, and Charlie Dent (all R-Pa.) today visited the Bethany Children’s Home, outside the Womelsdorf area of western Berks County, to investigate reports that children were being placed there by the government.

Gerlach says the home’s operators confirmed they are receiving the children under a contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s only eight children, but it varies from day to day,” Gerlach says. “They are in a contract where they can provide service to up to 32 children at a time.”

Gerlach says the Christian-oriented home is engaged in a humanitarian mission, keeping the youngsters for up to 7-10 days.

“We were pleased with the staff at Bethany that are providing these children with good food, shelter, (and) clothing as they are there for a brief period of time before they are linked with their family,” he said.

And, Gerlach says, that is the key: all have some kind of family in this country already.

He says, however, that he and his two fellow congressmen are pressing efforts to secure the border.


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