Who We Are

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work have collaborated to create the upEND Movement, a network designed to tap into work already being done and spark new work that will ultimately create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their families is no longer an acceptable solution for families in need.

Why We Need Change

We have known for decades that Black, Native, and, in many jurisdictions, Latinx children have disproportionately high rates of family separation and involvement with child welfare systems. We also know that foster care causes trauma and harm to many children. In addition to the initial crisis of family separation, children too often experience additional trauma from failed or unsafe placements, multiple moves while in care, placements in congregate care settings, and loss of connections to friends, extended family, and school. Children who spend extended time in foster care are at high risk for a host of negative outcomes including low educational attainment, homelessness, unemployment, economic hardship, mental health disorders, and involvement with the criminal legal system.

Why upEND the system?

The work of the upEND Movement isn’t about modest reform; it is about ending the current child welfare system and creating in its place new, anti-racist structures and practices to keep children safe and protected in their homes. upEND is about changing our nation’s approaches to family poverty and instability so that we work collectively to tackle the core societal stressors that make children vulnerable to unnecessary family separation.

upEND Co-Creators

the Center for the Study of Social Policy

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a national, non-profit policy organization that connects community action, public system reform, and policy change to create a fair and just society in which all children and families thrive.

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) prepares diverse leaders in practice and research to address complex challenges and achieve sustainable social, racial, economic, and political justice, locally and globally, through exceptional education, innovative research, and meaningful community engagement.

The upEND Movement Approach

The upEND Movement works to create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their parents is no longer an acceptable solution for families in need. We do this in partnership with others working together to foster anti-racist structures and practices to keep children safe and protected in their homes and communities.

  • upEND identifies and describes racist policies, practices, and research that supports the current child welfare system and maintains racial inequities.
  • upEND promotes reform efforts within current child welfare systems that seek to limit the use of involuntary removal to better serve children and families in their communities while new (or even old, but ignored) anti-racist responses and interventions are designed and implemented.
  • upEND is focused on building social and economic supports that replace the need for child welfare intervention. upEND is about ensuring that child neglect and abuse are recognized as a societal failing, not a family’s failing. upEND is about working together with families and communities to address the societal failings and racist responses to families in need.
  • upEND promotes abolishing the current child welfare system as we know it today. This goal does not make the need for foster homes and child protective services interventions immediately obsolete but prioritizes building critical systems of support for families and communities. upEND is about child safety, well-being, and permanency—important goals that cannot be effectively achieved for all children within the current system.
  • upEND joins with those working on responses to families that are based in communities and keep families together. Ultimately, this is not the ending of care but it is developing new systems of care for families that do not primarily rely on foster care and institutional care. Families and communities become the first responders to crises rather than state intervention. This is about prevention and care, from and within communities.
  • upEND supports anti-racist policies and practices and joins with organizers working on adequate, safe, and affordable housing; guaranteed minimum income; paid sick leave; affordable and high quality child care; quality and accessible public education; affordable and accessible health care; a child allowance; meaningful access to food; and other interventions that create meaningful supports for children and their families.

Join the #upENDmovement

We are in a moment of incredible disruption. Make your voice heard in the movement.