upEND

All children deserve to be with their families.


What We Work For

In partnership with 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 and Native children have disproportionately high rates of family separation and involvement with 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 low educational attainment, homelessness, unemployment, economic hardship, unplanned pregnancies, mental health disorders, and criminal justice 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 equity.

Thus, the work of the upEND movement isn’t about reform, it is about ending the current child welfare system as we know it; 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

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 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.

SAVE THE DATE: September 22-23, 2020 |  upENDing Systems: Creating Anti-Racist Supports for Children and Families.  As a nation we separate children from their families on a routine basis; racism has both motivated policies that separate children from their parents and it has been institutionalized in the systems that carry out these policies. 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. Join us for this two-day virtual convening, where we will discuss the need to abolish the foster care system as we know it and re-imagine the way that we support families and communities. Day One will consist of provocative conversations about the system as it exists and how we might abolish it; Day Two will be a day of solutions. More information and a link to sign up will be forthcoming; watch this space for more details and follow us on Twitter @upENDmovement.

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.