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Stamped From the Beginning

“An antiracist America can only be guaranteed if principled antiracists are in power, and then antiracist ideas become the law of the land, and then antiracist ideas become the common sense of the people, and then the antiracist common sense of the people hold those antiracist leaders and policies accountable.”

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

For some, the child welfare system appears aptly named—a system of policies and supportive services meant to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families. Yet for many among the millions who experience it, the child welfare system is an entrenched set of government structures designed to reinforce the racist history of oppression and separation of Black families in the United States.

A shocking 53% of Black children’s homes are investigated by child welfare officials. Far too often, investigations unjustly end with children removed from their parents, siblings, and communities and into broken child welfare systems. And when families are separated, children and parents experience trauma. 

Today, Children’s Rights released a comprehensive report examining the history of institutional racism in child welfare systems and calling for steps to bring about meaningful and lasting change. Fighting Institutional Racism at the Front End of Child Welfare Systems provides nine strategies to stop the unjust, unnecessary, and disproportionate surveillance and removal of Black children from their families. 

Read the summary report or access the full advocacy report here.

Lasting Harm

The profound trauma of family separation is proven to result in significant harm that can last a lifetime.

Children who are forcibly separated from their families experience emotional and psychological harm stemming from disruption of attachments, trauma from the very act of removal, and grief and loss. In the short term, children can experience intense anxiety, depression, and disruptive behaviors. Long-term consequences of involuntary family separation can include poor developmental health and adult involvement with the criminal legal system. 

Black parents experience an additional layer of trauma from the policing they are subjected to by an inherently racist system. Studies have demonstrated that people of color are stressed by individual, institutional, and cultural encounters with racism, impacting psychological and physical health.

Change that is Possible

This report explores the racism inherent in child welfare systems and identifies actions to end inappropriate government intervention in the lives of Black children and families.

Black children matter. Black parents matter. Black families matter. As such, fighting the disproportionate surveillance, investigation, and separation of Black families at the front end of child welfare systems is among the most urgent civil rights battles of our time.

This report explores the racism inherent in child welfare systems and identifies actions to end inappropriate government intervention in the lives of Black children and families.

Black children matter. Black parents matter. Black families matter. As such, fighting the disproportionate surveillance, investigation, and separation of Black families at the front end of child welfare systems is among the most urgent civil rights battles of our time.

Watch Our Panel Discussion to Learn More

CNN’s Senior Writer, Race & Equality, Nicquel Terry Ellis joined national advocates and thought leaders on May 27, 2021, to discuss the history and growing movement to disrupt racism in child welfare systems.

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