The child welfare system is not a helping system. The system subjugates, surveils, regulates, and punishes families – families who are disproportionately Black and Indigenous. It acts as a family policing system. The system and its supporters portray family policing as a legitimate, supportive helping system – one that protects the safety and well-being of children through necessary state-sanctioned interventions. But the outcomes for children and families are abysmal. Children have significantly worse outcomes as a result of system involvement. Families do not experience healing and children are not safer. Ultimately, the impact of the system on children, families, and communities underscores the ways in which the system functions to maintain anti-Blackness, White supremacy, racial capitalism, and colonialism. We can collectively do better.
As we’ve developed our ideas on abolition of family policing, we saw how family policing is built on a foundation of carceral logic. We came to understand that carceral logic is as deeply embedded in the family policing system as it is in our systems of prisons and policing. That led us on a yearlong exploration about what carceral logic is and how it manifests in the family policing system. Help is NOT on the Way: How Family Policing Perpetuates State Directed Terror presents the results of this exploration which were developed in collaboration with a team of upEND contributors – Victoria Copeland, Brianna Harvey, Joyce McMillan, Maya Pendleton, and Emma Peyton Williams. We were also fortunate to collaborate with Lizartistry to create powerful graphics to accompany each document.
Moving forward we hope to continue developing this line of thought as well as develop the alternative logic that should be used to care for children and families in their homes and communities. As always, our intention is to contribute to work already occurring and provoke new actions and innovations from others. We invite you to build on these ideas, share with us the ideas you are developing, and let us know ideas we missed.
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