About Us

Mistakes Kids Make is a storytelling project to remind us that the mistakes we make as kids should not ruin the rest of our lives or the lives of our families. Hold kids accountable? Yes. Teach kids responsibility? Absolutely. Help kids become their better selves? Let’s do it. But not at the cost of their chance for a good education, a good job, and a healthy, productive life as they grow.

Only 5% of kids who get arrested have committed a violent crime. But the other 95% often face the same fate.

That means too many kids get hit with one-size-fits-all policies that focus solely on the mistake made, instead of the KID involved. Hundreds of thousands of kids each year get trapped by unforgiving and outdated policies instead of being held accountable while also getting support to learn from their mistakes and help prevent them from making more or worse mistakes in the future.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Not all mistakes are created equal, but all kids should be treated as kids, even when their actions break the law. The Mistakes Kids Make project teaches all of us – whether we’re a parent or a teacher, a lawmaker or a judge, or anyone who remembers what it’s like to be a kid – that all kids deserve to get the support and services that can help them make better decisions in the future.

By supporting Mistakes Kids Make, you’re supporting better outcomes for kids, better outcomes for their families, and ultimately better outcomes for the rest of us – their neighbors, future educators, and employers, potential friends. What’s wrong with that?

Mistakes Kids Make is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through a grant to Public Interest Projects and other organizations committed to improving outcomes for kids and communities.