New Hampshire Chapter Program Probes Racism in Family Separation Systems

Oct 4, 2023

dad with two small kids sitting on the sofa

By Alison Laurio

The NASW New Hampshire chapter’s May 4 symposium titled Getting to the Root: Dismantling Racism in Family Separation Systems was presented in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s social work department, which provided some funding, said Lynn Stanley, NASW-New Hampshire’s executive director.

She said 600 people registered for the program, and more than 300 people “from all over the U.S.” took part in the live presentation. Those who missed the program can find it on NASW’s Social Work Online CE Institute and will be able to earn continuing education units, she said.

“There’s a higher percent of Black and Brown families involved with Child Protective Services,” Stanley said. “We’re a highly white state, and still we see racial disparities in our child welfare service.”

The program was a way for attendees to learn to look beyond their own cultural perspective and view things from a different vantage point, through an anti-racist lens, Stanley said. It’s about having a conversation in general within agencies, having discussions and changing the way we look at child protection.

The program included a presentation from Dorothy E. Roberts, an author, sociologist, law professor and social justice advocate who is the Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and Inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights.

Roberts provided information about her recently published book, “Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families and How Abolition Could Build a Safer World.” Dr. Sherri Simmons-Horton, an expert in addressing racial inequities, was the presentation moderator and led the discussion.

Read the full story in the NASW Social Work Advocates magazine.