KIND Calls on New Congress to Protect Unaccompanied Children

January 9, 2023

WASHINGTON — Today, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) released recommendations for the 118th Congress to ensure the protection, safety, and well-being of unaccompanied children on the move. With immigration reform a political priority for both parties, KIND urges policymakers to work collaboratively to achieve durable solutions that center the needs of children throughout each step of their migration journey.  


“The process that unaccompanied children undergo in the United States is rooted in a framework created when the number of children arriving at our borders was just a few hundred annually,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The 118th Congress has an opportunity to redesign the system to better address these children’s needs and protection that will also ensure a more fair, orderly, and efficient process.” 


KIND’s recommendations for the 118th Congress include: 

  • Providing guaranteed counsel for all unaccompanied children 
  • Establishing a specialized children’s immigration court 
  • Eliminating the backlog for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status visas 
  • Using congressional oversight to ensure that federal agencies advance the rights, well-being, and safety of unaccompanied children. 


“The changes KIND is urging are commonsense, practical solutions that will not only allow the United States to live up to its commitment to protecting the most vulnerable but will also help improve the U.S. immigration system as a whole,” Young added.


Wendy Young, President of KIND and Jennifer Podkul, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy are available to speak about how the new Congress can prioritize the safety and wellbeing of unaccompanied children.  


Media Contact: Megan McKenna,, 202-631-9990

To speak with Wendy or Jennifer, please contact Hannah Gavin at or (202) 765-4290.