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Building Bridges to Protection: Innovative Solutions for Unaccompanied Children on the Move

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm EST

Watch the Video:

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Abt Global are proud to co-host this webinar exploring innovative solutions to protect unaccompanied children on the move. 

The dangers faced by unaccompanied children seeking safety in the United States, including the risks posed by inadequate access to legal counsel and the pervasive practice of child labor exploitation, continue to capture national attention and define political debate across the nation.

A record number of unaccompanied children are fleeing to the United States to seek safety and escape dangers posed by war, gang violence, political upheaval, human trafficking, natural disasters, and other threats. Far too many minors are forced to navigate our nation’s complex immigration system alone. Without an attorney by their side and access to social service safety nets, these children are more susceptible to risks such as exploitation and far less likely to have the opportunity to fairly make their case for protection. 

Our esteemed speakers addressed these and other issues, during the event. 


  • Wendy Young, President, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • Luis C.deBaca, former U.S. Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Kelly Saldaña, Vice President for Systems Strengthening and Resilience, Abt Global (Moderator)

For 15 years, KIND has worked to protect unaccompanied children on the move, providing pro bono legal and social services to more than 30,000 children and partnering with more than 800 law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations. Today, KIND is working hand in hand with a broad spectrum of partners who share the organization’s vision for comprehensive, trauma-informed services for all unaccompanied children.

In partnership with Abt Global, KIND seeks to expand its reach with innovative digital solutions and technical assistance that address the unique challenges faced by unaccompanied children, as well as new partnerships with organizations that have deep expertise in serving immigrants and refugees. KIND is also amid a 10-year campaign to transform outdated laws, shift conversations about child immigration to center child protection, and reform the way the United States immigration system treats kids. The campaign includes support from a deeply knowledgeable and diverse Leadership Council focused on building consensus and changing the conversation about the best ways to protect unaccompanied children on the move.

Amid widespread migration flows, Abt has worked with governments in Latin America to increase access to health care and social support services for migrant families. Our work with Colombia’s government led to the inclusion of migrants in national and regional health planning and financing to respond to the influx of millions of people fleeing Venezuela’s socioeconomic crisis. Since 2021, we have helped Colombian health authorities enroll more than 90,000 Venezuelan migrants in Colombia’s national health insurance system.

In Peru, we helped establish a new system to improve access to the data required to respond to the growing population seeking asylum. The Peruvian Observatory of Migration and Health was launched in 2022, through a grant awarded to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. This rich database gives Peru and other countries on the migration path timely data that helps them plan and coordinate efforts to deliver health services to people that need them and strengthen cross-border continuity of care. Learn more