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A Judge Ordered the Government to Reconnect Migrant Kids with Parents. But These Private-Sector Groups are Doing the Work.

In 2018, when a judge halted the “zero tolerance” practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, it marked the end of one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies. But for some advocates working on the cause, it actually was the beginning: Someone now had to lead the effort to get the more than 5,000 children back to their families. As of this fall, according to NBC News, the parents of 666 of these children still haven’t been located.

While many people assume the government is responsible for undoing the damage it caused, a pair of Washington nonprofits have actually been helping lead the difficult effort. In 2018, the two organizations—Kids in Need of Defense and the Women’s Refugee Commission—joined a steering committee that a court has charged with finding the missing family members.

“A lot of this was literally just starting to call people and following the leads,” says Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Sometimes I talked to people who said, ‘Oh, they went back to the US to find their kid.’”