MacArthur Foundation Awards $250,000 Grant to Young Center

We are proud and grateful to announce that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $250,000 to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights to advance our work providing independent Child Advocates to unaccompanied and separated children in federal custody. The grant was part of the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment and was one of nearly $2 million in grants to Chicago-based immigrant rights and legal services organizations. 

Yesterday’s grant will ensure our continued work in Chicago and at our eight programs across the country, where we are appointed to the most vulnerable children, including children forcibly separated from their parents, babies and toddlers, pregnant and parenting teenagers, children with mental illness or physical disabilities, and child trafficking survivors. We’ve been appointed to thousands of children in the last 15 years, and this grant will ensure we serve many more children through our teams of attorneys, social workers, volunteer coordinators and case support specialists—and the many hundreds of volunteer Child Advocates who meet every week with children in detention centers around the country and accompany them through this part of their journey. 

The MacArthur Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of the Young Center for many years, helping us to advance our mission of promoting the best interests—the safety and well-being—of immigrant children. In 2012, the MacArthur Foundation awarded the Young Center a grant to partner with federal agencies and other national organizations to develop guidelines for identifying and protecting the best interests of children in immigration proceedings. Additional funding from the MacArthur Foundation allowed the Young Center to train immigration judges, asylum officers, government officials and lawyers across the country on strategies for ensuring children’s safety while they are in immigration proceedings. The MacArthur Foundation also funded the Young Center to bring together experts from the U.S. and around the world in the fields of juvenile justice, child welfare, and child development to help us develop an entirely new model for making decisions about whether the United States government grants children permanent protection or facilitates their safe repatriation (a report that will be released in 2019).   

Please join us in thanking the MacArthur Foundation for this incredibly generous grant!

Maddie Witters