Washington, DC and Houston, TX (September 17, 2020)—The US child welfare system has a long history of structural racism which has led to devastating consequences for Black, Native, and increasingly Latinx children and families. Despite decades of efforts aimed at reform, racism within the system persists. The upEND Movement works to create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their parents is no longer an acceptable intervention for families in need. Instead, the upEND Movement seeks to reimagine the current structures of child welfare and replace them with new, anti-racist means of keeping children safe and protected in their homes and communities.

Today we are excited to announce three new resources in the Movement’s toolbox:

  • upEnding the Child Welfare System: The Road to Abolition. Join us on October 20-21, 2020 1-4PM ET for the inaugural convening of the newly launched upEND Movement, where we will bring together organizers, activists, scholars, child welfare and community leaders to have robust conversations and strategize innovative ways to create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their families is no longer an acceptable solution for families in need.
  • upENDmovement.org. Our new website houses all of upEND’s resources to date and is the hub for our work. We invite you to visit, learn, and share your thoughts and work. We will be adding additional interactive resources as the site and our partnerships grow.
  • The upEND Movement Pledge. The upEND Movement is a collaborative initiative built with the help and support of those who have been doing this work from the beginning. We invite those who have been doing this work—and those who are just joining the Movement—to sign this pledge, engage with the work, and publicly show your commitment to a new vision of care for children and families.

“The upEND Movement is nowhere without the people on the ground doing the work,” said Kristen Weber, Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. “We hope that these resources contribute to their efforts and create broader understanding of the racism within our institutions and trauma they can inflict.  We want action that goes beyond limited reform initiatives and truly eradicates racism from our institutions and imagines meaningful care and support for children and families.”

“Dismantling racism in society requires dismantling the systems and institutions that perpetuate and maintain it,” said Alan Dettlaff, Dean of the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. “The upEND Movement seeks to end the harm the child welfare system causes by creating new ways of supporting child and family well-being. Now is the time to abolish this system and replace it with strategies that truly prioritize support, not dissolution, of families.”

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at www.CSSP.org.

About the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is a nationally recognized program, ranked #22 by U.S. News & World Report. Offering MSW and PhD degrees, the GCSW prepares diverse leaders in practice and research to address complex challenges through exceptional education, innovative research, and meaningful community engagement. Our vision to achieve social, racial, economic, and political justice shapes every aspect of the College, from what students learn in the classroom, to the research we engage in, to the events and partnerships we curate that amplify community conversations and engagement on social justice issues. Learn more at uh.edu/socialwork.