2021 Annual Report: A Time of Transformation

August 4, 2022

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A Time of Transformation

A Letter from KIND Co-Founder & Board Chair, Brad Smith and KIND President, Wendy Young

As we reflected on the many challenges and opportunities of 2021, we were sobered by the knowledge that KIND’s mission to provide legal and social services to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children is more complex—and the needs of those we serve more dire—than at any point in recent history. Confronting this reality is often heartbreaking and sometimes maddening, but comprehending the greater need and our obligation to meet it also steels our resolve and impels us to redouble our efforts. Most importantly, it sets us an additional and essential mission. Laboring to make progress within a broken U.S. immigration system means that we will never fully achieve our goal of a world in which every unaccompanied child on the move has access to legal counsel and has their rights and well-being protected as they migrate in search of safety. When we can no longer work effectively within this system it is incumbent on us to build something better.

In 2021, KIND continued its work across borders, serving thousands of children. Each day we centered our clients’ voices, elevated their stories, and provided the resources they needed to find sustained safety and care. We were challenged to do so in the face of ongoing political, financial, and environmental instability, by the profound uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, and by an unprecedented influx of migrant children who desperately needed support. With investments of time and resources from active and committed supporters like you, KIND remained nimble and innovative in its mission to protect the rights and well-being of children during their journey and upon their arrival. Our work spanned local and state arenas, informed federal legislation, and helped cut through the noise of partisan rhetoric. We successfully lobbied the Biden Administration, from day one, to prioritize children in immigration policies. KIND was a leading partner with the Biden Administration’s Task Force on Family Reunification, helping reunite families separated by the prior Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy. KIND provided legal, social, and psychosocial services to thousands of children and their families. And we didn’t do it alone. We deepened and expanded our pro bono partnerships with more than 700 law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations, ensuring high-quality representation for thousands of unaccompanied children in the United States. We partnered with governments and humanitarian organizations from Central America to Europe to scale our proven model and provided resources and services to unaccompanied children no matter where they were in their journey. We accomplished these things, and so much more, because of your generosity. We have much work to do to improve the plight of unaccompanied children. In these increasingly tumultuous times, your steadfast support has enabled us to provide smart solutions to new challenges and to go a step further—to reimagine the protection of children at every stage of their migration. We look forward to continuing this journey with you and forging new paths to help lead unaccompanied children to safety.

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Cover photo: These children were part of a caravan that trekked for a month across Central America and Mexico in hopes of reaching the United States. They were being held at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on the border with the U.S. (November 2018) Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images