KIND logo with the Keeping Kids Safe: A seamless safety net for children on the move campaign logo.

child forced migration infographic with blue background

The system for protecting unaccompanied children is failing, putting children’s well-being at risk. Kids in Need of Defense’s (KIND) new campaign, Keeping Kids Safe: A Seamless Safety Net of Protection, aims to reimagine and transform how we protect unaccompanied children in the United States and globally.    

KIND’s Keeping Kids Safe campaign is a 10-year initiative designed to transform outdated laws, shift conversations about child immigration to center child protection, and reform the way the current U.S. immigration system—and subsequently protection systems across the globe—treats children. KIND envisions a future in which unaccompanied children receive the protections they deserve. 

This campaign is the newest chapter in KIND’s longstanding efforts to promote laws and policies that protect vulnerable children throughout their migration journey. By engaging a broad spectrum of policymakers and the public, Keeping Kids Safe aims to systemically reform the child immigration process so that it puts children’s safety and well-being at the center. 

Campaign FAQ

KIND envisions a future in which unaccompanied children receive the protections they deserve. Currently, that is far from reality. 

Across the globe, a record number of children are displaced and forced to migrate due to war, poverty, gang violence, disease, climate change, and political upheaval. In 2021, over 36 million children were forcibly displaced from their homes. More than half of the world’s 26 million registered refugees are children. Some of these children migrate alone, without a parent or guardian. In 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended over 150,000 unaccompanied children at or near the United States’ border, a near tenfold increase from the 16,067 apprehensions in 2011.  

Laws and policies governing the treatment of unaccompanied children seeking safety in the United States are inflexible, outdated, and do not adequately protect these vulnerable children. When unaccompanied children arrive to the United States, they confront an adversarial, punitive immigration system that does not consider their best interests, age, traumatic experiences, or language barriers—all without the guarantee of legal representation. Many children are returned to their countries of origin with no support system to help them reintegrate safely. Children who are permitted to remain in the United States often do not have the resources or capacity to navigate the challenges of building a new life in a new country. 

A core set of principles guide this campaign and its policy priorities:
Full image of all 7 keeping kids safe principles and icons

KIND has assembled a Leadership Council to ensure that the campaign is informed by a broad and deeply knowledgeable group of expert advisors. The Leadership Council will play a crucial role in the Keeping Kids Safe campaign by advising KIND on children-first, pragmatic policy solutions and recommendations. These experts and visionary leaders will also help KIND build broad support for transforming the child protection landscape for unaccompanied children through public engagement and outreach to policy makers. 

Leadership Council

Judge Rosemary Barkett

Jorge A. Bermudez

Amb. Luis C.deBaca

María Socorro Gómez, RN, MPH

Judge Ramona A. Gonzalez

Dr. Heval Kelli

Debbie Lee

Cecilia Muñoz

Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Bri Stensrud

Sam Witten

Dr. Luis H. Zayas

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Unaccompanied Children Deserve Protection, Not Partisan Politics

As a state circuit court judge in Wisconsin, I have the privilege of upholding the law and ensuring the fair administration of justice. This includes maintaining the integrity of the U.S. justice system for all, including children. Last month, I was appalled by the passage out of committee in the U.S. House of Representatives of […]

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Learn more about the campaign

For more information and to contact the campaign, please e-mail: KeepingKidsSafe@supportkind.org 

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