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Policy & Practice

Juvenile Law Center presents a conversation with Sixto Cancel and Dorothy Roberts

Written by
Juvenile Law Center
May 31, 2022

Growing calls to abolish the U.S. child welfare system are challenging its entrenched logic and pointing to well-documented evidence of the limited impact of attempts to reform it. On one hand, the mainstream approach to child welfare and protection is one that places the blame on parents for their children’s hardships and separates them from those children, ignoring the societal and systemic inequities that create those hardships and disproportionately subject poor families and families of color to system entanglement. On the other hand, scholarly research and the accounts of those with lived experience in substitute care point to the harm that the system itself inflicts on those it purports to serve. What does it mean to work toward a society where children no longer experience violence or unmet needs in their homes or the trauma of being removed from their families and communities? And what legislative changes, government policies, community-based resources, and systems of care are needed to get us there?