Lawmakers Create Bureaucracy To Oversee Immigrant Child Care

By Sam Stockard [Tennessee Lookout -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] –

Some Republican lawmakers were shocked last year when they heard a plane load of unaccompanied immigrant minors debarked in Chattanooga and left a group of children there.

In Chattanooga the kids went to La Casa de Sidney, a group home operated by The Baptiste Group, which had a federal contract and the state’s permission to accept children temporarily. 

Outrage grew exponentially when two of the facility’s staff members were accused of having inappropriate relations with minors there. A young man also ran away from the facility and might have gone back home.

*** Click Here to Support Conservative Journalism in Tennessee. We can’t bring you stories like this without your support!***

The Department of Children Services suspended the license of The Baptiste Group, and Davidson County Chancellor Patricia Moskal in February rejected the group’s claim that the state singled it out and violated its constitutional rights to equal protection. Ultimately, the court decided the facility should be suspended to protect children.

In a joint stipulation filed Tuesday by the Baptiste Group and state, an appeal was dismissed.

The group’s license expired in late February, and the state dropped its revocation notice, since it was moot. Under the legal resolution, Baptiste can reapply for a license subject to new licensing laws, according to the Department of Children Services.

When the children staying at La Casa de Sidney were shipped elsewhere, it kept the state from investigating further.

The ordeal led to legislative meetings last summer and a bill passed this year by Republican Sen. Dawn White of Murfreesboro and Republican Rep. Dan Howell of Cleveland setting new reporting requirements for child-care facilities.


During floor debate in April, Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro of Nashville questioned why the state needs to create a new bureaucracy just because some lawmakers are upset.

“I think it is an overreaction to the problem,” Yarbro said.

Non-traditional child-care facilities will have to report the number of children they accept and transfer, where they go, the length of stay, the amount of grants and public funds received, names, birth dates, fingerprints, and dental records.

White responded that the state needs this new set of regulations because the federal government had been covering up the number of children brought into Tennessee.

The federal government isn’t required to notify the state about the placement of unaccompanied children.

The Baptiste Group, however, had to file reports with the state and was subject to the unannounced inspections that led to criminal charges. Yarbro pointed out the state already has rules for child-care facilities. But the Senate forged ahead and passed the measure 25-6.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, a Chattanooga Republican, considered last summer’s meetings and the ensuing legislation nothing but grandstanding for right-wing voters. His biggest concern is that immigrant children who are trying to escape horrible situations might not have a safe place to go when they come to the United States.

Based on the way this played out – it’s unclear whether Baptiste will reapply – the options in Tennessee will be extremely limited. 

Note: This article has been edited for style by The Tennessee Conservative.

About the Author: Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state’s best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association. Follow Stockard on Twitter @StockardSam

2 thoughts on “Lawmakers Create Bureaucracy To Oversee Immigrant Child Care

  • June 13, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    You can see who are the RINO’s here. However, it’s amazing any legislature got passed. It’s not what the G.A. attempted to do, it is what they did NOT do. How can we believe planes land in TN with no oversight, no reporting? I do not. Lee is complicit.

  • June 13, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Put them back on a plane and send the back to their country or Washington, D.C. America is tired of these underhanded tricks by the left and the media,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *