Families Belong Together

Evelyn Diaz, President

Evelyn Diaz, President
Heartland Alliance

In the last week, Heartland Alliance has been highlighted in the media for the care and services we provide to unaccompanied minors in the Chicagoland region.

Heartland Alliance is a human rights and social justice organization that has been helping vulnerable populations in Chicago, across the region, and throughout the world for 130 years. We provide respectful services; work to secure access to justice; and shape policies that promote equity and opportunity for all—particularly for those who are most marginalized among us.

As you may know, for nearly three decades, Heartland Alliance has been providing care and shelter to children who cross our borders alone, seeking safety. We have a contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement and are licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as a child welfare organization to provide a welcoming shelter, food and clothing, healthcare and education, counseling, and therapy for up to 512 children at nine shelters in the Chicagoland area.

I want you to know that we believe families should be together. Our goal today is as it has always been: to reunite children with a caregiver or sponsor—typically family—living here in the U.S. as quickly as possible.

In the last six weeks, this work has begun to include a number of children who have been separated from their families at the border as a result of the administration’s zero tolerance policy. Although Heartland Alliance has nothing to do with the decision to separate children from their parents, we are doing everything we can to keep children safe while they are entrusted in our care.

Children are scared when they arrive at our doors.  Our clinicians, teachers, and family reunification specialists are doing everything in their power to make a horrible situation less scary; to provide comfort and support to the children; and to reunite them with their families as quickly as possible. 

Heartland Alliance has always stood with vulnerable children and families who arrive at our borders. And we remain steadfast in fighting for freedom from violence, persecution, and human rights violations globally.

We have received many phone calls and emails from concerned citizens asking how they can help. We invite you to join us:

  • Volunteer to collect much-needed items for migrant children
  • Donate now to help increase access to mental health services for migrant children, accelerate family reunification efforts, and advocate for safety and justice.
  • Learn more about the journey of unaccompanied minors and Heartland Alliance’s work.
  • Shape the conversation and mobilize support for this important issue on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Write a card for a migrant child to show you care. You can mail cards to Heartland Alliance, 208 S. LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60604.