Washington, D.C.—As the chaos and uncertainty in Afghanistan intensifies, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is urging the Biden Administration to prioritize the well-being and security of unaccompanied and separated children, especially those children arriving in the United States without their families. To ensure protections for these children who are fleeing danger and to prevent the separation of families amid this humanitarian crisis, the United States must lean into best practices that prioritize children’s rights.
“As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration must remain steadfast in its commitment to protect unaccompanied and separated children, including those who will be coming to the United States for safety,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The administration has a responsibility to recognize the unique vulnerabilities of these children, a number of whom were likely separated from family amid the chaos at the Kabul airport. The United States must draw on its vast experience to implement best practices that will protect these children and ensure those who are separated from their families are reunified as swiftly as possible. While they are in U.S. care, unaccompanied Afghan children must be provided access to safeguards under our laws that ensure access to legal and social services to help them navigate the trauma that often stems from separation from their families and the deep uncertainty that lies ahead.”
As unaccompanied Afghan children enter the custody of the U.S. government, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) urges the administration to:
- Facilitate their safe and swift reunification with family.
- Ensure their access to legal representation.
- Ensure that when in the custody of the U.S. government, they are well cared for with consideration for their vulnerabilities and specific needs.
- Provide culturally competent mental health and other social services to address the trauma of family separation and the uncertainty they face.
- Immediately identify children separated from their families, collect all contact information for their separated family members, and work to reunite them as efficiently and safely as possible.
- Fund refugee services designed to protect children and families, including resettlement services for unaccompanied Afghan children in U.S. custody, even if paroled.
“We must prevent any further harm coming to Afghan children, particularly those who may have been separated from loved ones and prioritize their protection at each stage of their journey. It is the very least we can do to help the Afghan people.”
To learn more, read, KIND Urges Safe Passage, Protections for Unaccompanied Children Fleeing Afghanistan
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990