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Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families, and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World

April 5 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy RobertsIn her new book Torn Apart, award-winning scholar Dorothy Roberts exposes the foundational racism of the child welfare system and calls for radical change. In conversation with the founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Racial Justice, Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Professor Roberts will share more on her book, and her belief that the only way to stop the destruction caused by family policing is to abolish the child welfare system and liberate Black communities. 

This virtual event will have a live watch party in Weill Hall, Room 1110. A free copy of Professor Roberts’ book, Torn Apart, will be provided for attendees at the viewing party on a first-come first-serve basis. 

This event is hosted by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Center for Racial Justice, with support from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Poverty Solutions. 

About Torn Apart

Many believe the child welfare system protects children from abuse. But as Torn Apart uncovers, this system is designed to punish Black families. Drawing on decades of research, legal scholar and sociologist Dorothy Roberts reveals that the child welfare system is better understood as a “family policing system” that collaborates with law enforcement and prisons to oppress Black communities. Child protection investigations ensnare a majority of Black children, putting their families under intense state surveillance and regulation. Black children are disproportionately likely to be torn from their families and placed in foster care, driving many to juvenile detention and imprisonment.

Registration link


Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234 United States + Google Map