Emma LiFollow

Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

Roberto Sirvent

Rights Information

2021 Emma M Li


My objective is to illuminate the painful, discriminatory, and avoidable effects of family separation underneath the American child welfare system and tradition of family policing. In this bureaucratically sprawling and interconnected system comprising of prisons, courts, social workers, and doctors, individual blame is assigned to parents, families, and communities facing long-running systemic problems. Family policing and the child welfare system have long been excluded from conventional discussions surrounding the harms of police and prisons. The everyday violence Black, Latinx, and low-income families face at the threat of/implementation of family separation - an immensely traumatic and agonizing process - must be understood through the lens of the US’ genocidal practices toward Indigenous and Black communities, and the prioritization of economic growth over general well-being. Like the logic of prisons, the child welfare system addresses only the effects and not root causes of harm. Policing and family policing are one and the same, operating through the same cruel, destructive, and discriminatory apparatuses and logics.