KIND Urges Protection for 17,000 Unaccompanied and Separated Children Caught in the Crosshairs of Middle East Unrest

February 5, 2024

Washington, DC – Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) today urged protections for the more than 17,000 unaccompanied and separated children identified by UNICEF in the Gaza Strip following months of violence in the region sparked by Israel’s response to the horrific October 7 attacks by Hamas. KIND noted that unaccompanied and separated children displaced by violent conflict are among the most vulnerable populations, historically facing higher risk for trauma, exploitation, abuse, human trafficking, and other dangers. KIND President Wendy Young today issued the following statement:

“UNICEF’s identification of at least 17,000 unaccompanied and separated children in the Gaza Strip quantifies the dramatic and devastating toll Palestinian children are paying in the war between Israel and Gaza following the October 7 attacks. It is vital that the international community and humanitarian actors ensure that children have access to the legal protection, psychosocial support, and other basic services necessary to ensure these children’s protection, safety, and well-being. As a leading expert in protecting unaccompanied and separated children, KIND urges a quick end to this violence. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support impacted partners and programs.” 


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