State suspends license for Chattanooga shelter for migrant children

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Redemption to the Nations is housing unaccompanied migrant children who arrived at the border in recent weeks in an unused former Tennessee Temple dormitory that the church leases.

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services has suspended the child care license of the Baptiste Group, closing the Chattanooga shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.

In a news release Thursday evening, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services said the license was suspended due to a series of issues related to the facility, including an allegation of child abuse and a teenage boy running away from the shelter in mid-June. All children were moved from the facility on June 22.

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, a member of the state's special committee investigating immigration, told the Times Free Press the license was also suspended because of staffing concerns.

"I've been informed by DCS that they've suspended the license for lack of qualified people to take care of the children," Gardenhire said. "So therefore they're going to suspend their license in light of the problems they've had."