U.S. Border Crisis

Increasing numbers of children fleeing violence and insecurity in their Central American and Mexican communities are seeking refuge in the United States. Watch President & CEO, Carolyn Miles, talk about our response and learn how you can help.

The Emergency

According to government estimates, more than 63,000 children arrived at the U.S. border, with as many as 100,000 expected this year. Thousands of children are in custody of the U.S. Customs Border Protection in facilities struggling to meet the basic needs of such large numbers of children. Unaccompanied children have fled violence in their homelands without their parents - the result is an unprecendented border crisis.

These children are in urgent need of protective and supportive care, medical and hygiene care, and nutritious meals. Save the Children is on the scene, providing child protection activities and programs, including Child Friendly Spaces to give these children access to structured play, emotional support and supervision provided by caring adults.

Read the latest press release

USA Today features Save the Children’s Carlos Carrazana’s Op-ed on the Child Border Crisis. Read his Op-ed.

Stories from Children on the Borderline

Make a Wish!

Benito* celebrates his 10th birthday at our Child-Friendly Space near the U.S. border in McAllen, Texas.

Escaping "Black Fridays"

Young Eduardo* sadly left his home in El Salvador because home had become a far too dangerous place.

Little People, Big Dreams

Gabriela,* recently widowed, fled her home – all to fulfill her dream of giving her children a better life.

Sofia's Choice

Mother of four, Sofia* risked everything to attain a better future for at least one of her children.

Beautiful Mother and Daughter

Both Mother and daughter tell us their stories of escaping gang violence and poverty in Honduras.

What Choice Did I Have?

Halfway through their harrowing, month-long journey to the U.S. border, Paloma* considered turning back.

I Just Didn't Let Her Go

Andrea* was fearless in the face of danger to save her little one, in the hopes of giving her daughter a better life.

They Treat People So Badly

After a local school teacher was killed in front of students, Maribel* and her son left their Honduras home.

Birth in a Detention Center

Carmen* was pregnant when she left Honduras with her two young children.

They Locked Us Up

Diego* spent his 7th birthday in a U.S. Customs Border Protection facility.

Gang Threatened Her Children

Gang members demanded that Beatriz pay $2,000 or they would kill her children.

Three Guns Pointed at Her Head

"We don't come here to do any harm. We come because we don't want to be killed."

Sing, Dance, Wash Your Hands!

A new helper has joined Save the Children in our Child-Friendly Spaces.

"Parents have made the desperate decision to send children alone across thousands of miles. These children have already faced a long and dangerous journey to reach the United States, and are extremely vulnerable to further harm. We are working quickly to identify their needs and help provide them a safe space where they receive the age-appropriate care and support they need." — Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children.

The Impact on Children

Many of the children who are arriving at the U.S. border are escaping unthinkable violence, and some have been victimized during their long journey. Children are suffering from a variety of illnesses, dehydration and diarrhea. They are in urgent need of protective adult care and supportive supervision, medical and hygiene care and nutritious meals.

The border crisis has worsened as children are being held in detention facilities until they can be reunited with a family member or transferred to foster-care type settings (for children younger than 12) or large detention shelters (for children older than 12). However, because the system has been overwhelmed by the influx of children, the Customs and Border Patrol quickly established large detention processing sites, where as many as 1,200 children may be detained during that process.

Our Response:

Save the Children is working to help address the immediate needs of children in the midst of the U.S. border crisis. Our humanitarian experts are on the scene, providing child protection activities and programs to support mothers and children.

  • We have set up Child-Friendly Spaces in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where children have access to structured play and emotional support. In addition we have provided new clothes for children at those shelters.
  • We have distributed comfort and hygiene kits for mothers and children, providing crayons, coloring books, hygiene supplies, toys, and other items to help support basic needs.
  • We have facilitated training on setting up Child-friendly Spaces and provided material supplies to FEMA Corps members who support these children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection centers.
  • We have trained staff from NINOS, a Head Start provider, to run our programs in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas.
  • Central American Consulate staff has integrated our Journey of Hope training, an emotional support program to help children process, express and understand their emotions.

Save the Children is advocating that the U.S. Government move quickly to transfer children out of border protection facilities, immediately improve the difficult conditions they face and to allow child protection experts to assess and monitor the border protection stations where the children are first processed.

We will also advocate for a long-term response that includes private/public collaboration to address the needs of these children. Regardless of immigrant or refugee status, we #choosechildren.

Our Programs in Central America

Save the Children country offices in Central America are providing protection programs to help ensure the protection and safe treatment of children in their counties. We will be working with partners in the region to explore how we can expand this work to address both the protection needs and underlying causes of this migration.

10 percent of your contribution will be allocated to our Domestic Emergency Fund and help Save the Children respond to future emergencies in the United States. Your support helps Save the Children provide assistance in the first hours and days of a domestic emergency; deploy relief experts immediately to a crisis; provide seed funding to provide emergency services faster; pre-position emergency relief supplies; support emergency preparedness in communities and provide coordination from headquarters to support program delivery.

How You Can Help

Donate now and help Save the Children ensure these children receive the care and protection they urgently need.

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