The history of the child welfare system is one of structural and institutional racism resulting in devastating consequences for children and families. Black, Native, and increasingly Latinx children have disproportionately high rates of family separation and system involvement. We have spent decades attempting reform, but the roots of racism are too deeply entrenched in our systems and in our broader society to effect sustained improvements for families. The child welfare system is operating as designed and that design is perpetuating harm and trauma. It is for these reasons that we are working to upEND the child welfare system.
upEND is an emerging, collaborative movement aimed at ending the over-surveillance and over-removal of Black, Native, and increasingly Latinx children and families in the child welfare system and increasing meaningful supports so families can care for their children. The upEND movement promotes community-based supports for the care and well-being of children that are designed by and for families and communities, ultimately making the need for the current system of foster care obsolete.
By joining the upEND movement, we commit to a new vision of care for children and families. We commit to:
- Creating a society in which the forcible separation of children from their parents is no longer an acceptable intervention for families.
- Imagining and building a system of social and economic supports, in partnership with families and communities, that replace the need for child welfare surveillance and intervention.
- Keeping Black parents, Native parents, parents with disabilities, parents and caregivers who have been incarcerated, and others who have experienced marginalization by child welfare systems at the center of this work.
- Implementing anti-racist policies and practices to keep children safe and protected in their homes and communities.
- Calling out and eliminating racist policies, practices, and research that uphold the current child welfare system and maintain inequitable outcomes for Black, Native, and Latinx children, youth, and families.
- Promoting anti-racist efforts within the current system that align with the long-term work to reimagine how we better serve children and families and end the routine use of the traumatic separation of families.
upEND is about achieving child, family, and community safety, well-being, and permanency. upEND supports anti-racist policies, practices, and systems of care that include adequate, safe, and affordable housing; guaranteed minimum income; a child allowance; paid sick leave; affordable and high quality child care; quality and accessible public education; affordable and accessible health care, mental health care, and substance use treatment; equitable access to healthy and nutritious food; and meaningful supports for children and their families.
Join us in this critical work by signing the pledge below and committing to take steps to support the upEND Movement in whatever way you can.
The work of upEND cannot be done without the help of close collaborators and partners. We know that many in the field are already deeply engaged in this work. If you are one of those people/organizations, we would love to have a conversation. Reach out to us at info@upENDmovement.org.