“The vast majority of children who are taken from their homes are not taken on grounds of physical or sexual abuse. They’re taken because of neglect, and states defined neglect, basically, as the conditions of poverty: failing to provide the resources that children need. And so I think most Americans have a false view of what the system does. They think it’s a system that protects children from extreme forms of abuse, when its main function is to regulate impoverished or working class families, especially Black and Indigenous families.”
Dorothy E. Roberts joins us on the program to talk about her recently released book Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families–and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World. She lays out the vast impact the foster care system has on children and their families, and she challenges us to think about a future without this method of child separation.
Dorothy E. Roberts is an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law. She is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology, and the Raymond Pace & Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, and Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. She is also the co-editor of Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond.