Congress Recognizes Safety Needs of Unaccompanied Immigrant and Refugee Children

December 23, 2022

Washington, DC –The Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 omnibus spending package contains much-needed support for the protection of unaccompanied children. KIND welcomes the increased support for vital services that advance the safety and well-being of these children in the United States, as well as a recognition of the need to the address the reasons children are seeking safety in the United States in historic numbers.

“The key to providing robust protection for unaccompanied children in the United States is the provision of post-release social services, legal services, and child advocates,” said KIND Vice President for Policy and Advocacy Jennifer Podkul. “Congress acknowledged these core needs and rightly increased funding for the services that will provide these uniquely vulnerable children the safety net they desperately need.”

KIND has strongly advocated for support in key areas that the spending package addressed, including:

• An increase in support for social services, legal services, and advocates for unaccompanied children

• Funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to hire child welfare professionals at the border to help ensure proper screening and care for unaccompanied children in DHS custody

• Support dedicated to preventing and responding to gender-based violence in Central America.

Understanding the importance of children’s protection needs while addressing the root causes, the Omnibus also contains language issuing a new directive to invest in reintegration services for children returning to Central America.

Media contact: Megan McKenna,