Upend Family Walking Holding Hands

upEND

All children deserve to be with their families.


What We Work For

The upEND Movement is a collaborative movement that works to abolish the existing child welfare system, which is built on a model of surveillance and separation.

Abolition requires ending this oppressive system and fundamentally imagining and recreating the ways in which society supports children, families, and communities in being safer and thriving. Co-created with and now housed at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, the upEND Movement works to create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their families is no longer an acceptable solution for families in need.

How We Do It

We have known for decades that Black, Native, and in many jurisdictions Latinx children are disproportionately separated from their families and involvedandwith child welfare systems. We also know that foster care causes harm to many children. In addition to the initial trauma of separation from their families, 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. These stressors put children who spend time in foster care at high risk for a host of negative outcomes including poverty, homelessness, unemployment, unplanned pregnancies, mental health disorders, and criminal punishment system involvement.

The potential for these negative outcomes is increased for Black and Native youth who are already at risk of experiencing adverse outcomes due to structural and institutional racism. 

Racism is so deeply rooted in child welfare systems’ history, policies, and practices that they are not easily modified or revised. Rather, the system as we know it has to be ended in order to ensure racial justice and equity.

Thus, the work of the upEND Movement isn’t about reform, it is about ending the current child welfare system; it is about the abolition of child welfare through the creation of new, anti-racist structures and practices to keep children safe and protected in their homes. It is about changing our approaches to family poverty and instability so that we are working collectively to tackle the core stressors that make children vulnerable to unnecessary family separation.

Learn More

Visit www.upENDmovement.org or read our FAQ document to learn more about the upEND Movement including how you can get involved with this critically important work. Join us on Twitter @upENDmovement to get the latest information.

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 through strategic alliances that 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 on an interim basis that move child welfare 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 NOT about tinkering or modestly reforming existing child welfare systems but 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. We must work together with families and communities to address the societal failings and upEND the current system.
  • upEND promotes abolishing the current child welfare system as we know it today. Abolishing the current child welfare system means not making the need for foster homes and shelters obsolete but ensuring the presence, instead, of critical systems of support for families and communities. upEND is about child safety, well-being, and permanency, things that are elusive to children and youth within the current system.
  • upEND joins with those working on responses to families that are based in communities, actually provide support, and keep families together. Ultimately, this is not the ending of care—this is the ending of foster care and institutional care. Families and communities become the first responders to crisis 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.

Read the press statement here.

October 26 & 27, 1:00pm – 4:15 PM ET (each day) | How We endUP: A Future Without Family Policing
The upEND Movement will host a virtual gathering to explore the ideas set forth in How We endUP, a document released on June 18, 2021, the one-year anniversary of the launch of the upEND Movement. Learn more and register here. 

While this webpage will give you an important outline, visit www.upENDmovement.org (COMING SOON) to get to the heart of the upEND movement and learn how you can get involved with this critically important work. 


Join the upEND movement!

Get involved to create a society in which the forcible separation of children from their parents is no longer an acceptable solution for families in need.
  • Share any of your handles to stay updated on social media. Follow us on Twitter at @upENDmovement.
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Our Experts

Bill Bettencourt

Bill Bettencourt

Senior Fellow
Contact:
He, Him, His
bill.bettencourt@cssp.org
SEE FULL PROFILE  
Leonard Burton 2020

Leonard Burton

Senior Fellow
Contact:
He, Him, His
leonard.burton@cssp.org
SEE FULL PROFILE  
Kristen Weber

Kristen Weber

Senior Fellow
Contact:
She, Her, Hers
kristen.weber@cssp.org
SEE FULL PROFILE