Children make up less than one third of the global population, but more than 40 percent of the world’s refugees. The number of refugee and asylum-seeking children hit a new record of 17.5 million in 2022, according to UNICEF. War and other violence, natural disasters, political instability, climate change, and poverty push children to leave their homes—sometimes alone; other times they are separated from family as they flee in search of safety.
Throughout our 15 years, KIND has increasingly expanded our work to reach unaccompanied and separated children in need wherever they are. In the United States, our legal and social service teams in our 15 offices across the country help children access protection and assistance that promotes their safety and well-being. KIND advocates for the protection of child migrants in Mexico and helps children returning alone to Central America reintegrate into their families and communities.
In the last year, some of our greatest growth has been in helping unaccompanied and separated children in Europe. KIND’s new Senior Director for Europe is working to expand our response to the increasing numbers of these children across the continent with the invaluable help of our expert partners.
In France, KIND partners with the Alliance of Lawyers for Human Rights to help unaccompanied children prepare for their asylum interviews, obtain residence permits, access housing, obtain citizenship, and apply for family reunification.
KIND works with European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL) which provides direct legal assistance to unaccompanied children on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos, and around the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki with the support of pro bono lawyers. ELIL helps children access suitable accommodation, apply for asylum and family reunification, and challenge incorrect age determinations and detention for children wrongly determined to be adults.
With support from KIND, ELIL expanded its work into Poland to provide legal assistance to children displaced from Ukraine in collaboration with pro bono lawyers. KIND is also hiring a lawyer in Poland to provide legal assistance to unaccompanied and separated children.
KIND has been working in Italy since 2022 in partnership with the Italian Refugee Council and the pro bono legal community, providing children at the border with Slovenia and in Rome with essential information about their rights; direct legal assistance to regularize their status in Italy; and help to reunify with family in other countries in Europe. KIND is also working with the Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights, Progetto Diritti, and the Association of Ukrainian Working Women in Italy to support families and children from Ukraine across Italy with a range of legal needs, including providing information about their rights and assisting with guardianship, family reunification, and education.
In Ireland, KIND partners with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, the Irish Refugee Council (IRC), and the pro bono legal community to ensure sustainable solutions to help children in Ireland obtain citizenship and to apply for family reunification. Both organizations train and mentor pro bono lawyers to conduct this work.
KIND partners with the Human Rights League in Slovakia and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to build the capacity of practitioners to meet the needs of children displaced from Ukraine with a particular focus on preventing and responding to risks of child trafficking. KIND is also expanding its work in Slovakia by hiring a lawyer to address the legal needs of unaccompanied and separated children in the country.
With our partners, we have served nearly 1,800 children from 45 countries, with a success rate of 92 percent for concluded cases. We have 50 pro bono law firm and corporate partners and trained 958 pro bono lawyers and 215 social workers and guardians.
On this World Refugee Day, KIND thanks our partners across the globe. We will continue to go where the children are to help them be safe and live up to their greatest potential.