We can build a society where children and families are strengthened and supported, not surveilled and separated.
April 6, 2023, 6:00 PM Central
University of Houston & Live Stream
We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America is one of 2023’s most anticipated books and a “searing indictment of the American foster care system.”
We hope that this document will be a guide to analyze whether proposed reforms to family policing further entrench the family policing system or move us closer to the abolition of family policing. The questions we ask are a reflection of the world we want to build—one without family policing and one where children are safer.
On June 19, 2020, upEND launched a collaborative movement to protect children and reimagine how to support families. On Juneteenth, a day synonymous with liberation, we invited abolitionists, activists, and families to join us to dismantle the family policing system and work in community to imagine and build new approaches. Together, we have grown, we have learned and shifted the conversation about addressing the harms inherent in the family policing system while centering abolition as the solution. Our 2022 Impact Report tells the story of the first two years since our launch.
Reforms are ineffective at combating racism and harm in part because they do not intend to, but also because they begin with the wrong presumptions.
Black families faced an incomprehensible level of pain, anger, confusion, and powerlessness during enslavement. Sadly, when speaking with Black families who have had their children forcibly and involuntarily removed by the family policing system today, too little has changed.
The family policing system’s punitive approach does not – and cannot – ever authentically heal or prevent anything.