Family Policing

A primary segment of our work is dedicated to highlighting the violences of the family policing system, and working towards abolition.

  • Family Policing System  (FPS) is a term used to better describe the nexus of institutions, organizations, and individuals that form mutualistic symbiotic relationships for the purpose of intentionally or unintentionally surveilling and policing families (Copeland & Harvey, 2020)
  • Mutualism symbiotic relationships are defined by Brittanica as “association between organisms of two different species in which each benefits. Mutualistic arrangements are most likely to develop between organisms with widely different living requirements”.
  • FPS practices & processes are set according to a complex assemblage of laws, regulations, and norms that are influenced by harmful and carceral ideologies. Included are screenshots of a blueprint for an ai bill of rights, CAPTA, ASFA, ICWA, & FFPSA.
  • Consequently, the FPS relies on tactics of punishment, criminalization, & separation all of which are steeped in legacies of colonialism, racism, classism, misogynoir, ableism, xenophobia, transphobia, and white supremacy.  Images include screenshots of a report on residential schools/assimilation prisons for indigenous children, article on trans bans in Florida, propublica articles on constitutional rights & black family investigations in AZ.

Why do we call it family policing rather than child welfare? Simple. We hope to shift the language we use to better represent the perspectives and experiences of those most impacted by the system, not just those who uphold it. This shift in language was inspired by conversations between Victoria Copeland (myself) and Brianna Harvey as we contemplated Emma Peyton Williams and Dorothy Roberts use of the term family regulation. There was a desire to add another layer to the concept of regulation, something that represented the more violent and insidious innate nature of the system.

Family policing is thus an extension of the family regulation concept, and an addition to the ideas and experiences that have been narrated by Black families throughout history.

What’s new in Family Policing at ETC?

It’s child abuse prevention month. Find out ways you can help learn more about preventative care here.