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Where Were the Social Workers? A Historical Overview of the Social Work Profession’s Complicity in the Family Policing System


Jasmin Wali
External Resource


Columbia Social Work Review
May 10, 2023


Mandatory Reporting
Racial and Gender Equity
Overlap of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

In recent years, segments of the social work profession have highlighted the ways that social workers are complicit with carceral systems, including the foster care system. Following the advocacy of impacted families and communities, social workers have increasingly called for re-examination of standard social work practices such as mandated reporting. This paper seeks to strengthen historical understanding of the social work profession’s complicity in the creation of the modern family policing system, commonly known as the child welfare system.