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San Francisco CASA Hosts Q&A with Social Justice Advocate Dorothy Roberts on Racial Disparities in Child Welfare Systems

SFCASA to host Q+A with the author of “Torn Apart” in March

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, March 23, 2023/ -- San Francisco CASA (SFCASA), Homeless Prenatal Program and The Bar Association of San Francisco are hosting a Q&A today with civil rights law professor and social justice advocate Dorothy E. Roberts focused on her book, “Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families--and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World.”

The Q&A, led by Alex Del Prete, Doctoral Candidate at The Wright Institute graduate school of psychology at Berkeley and a Clinical Psychology Intern at Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, will explore how racial bias in the U.S. welfare system leads to a disproportionate number of Black and Native American children taken from their families. In San Francisco County, nearly 46% of foster kids are Black while less than 5% of the city's child population is Black. Meanwhile, the high cost of living in San Francisco means 65% of foster youth are placed outside the Bay Area where more adults can afford to foster, but far from the childrens’ home communities, their schools, and their parents.

Kate Durham, SFCASA’s Executive Director shares, “In San Francisco, we take pride in our progressivism, yet despite years of reform efforts, our child welfare system still has an unfair impact on families of color. I know we can do better. It is time to radically reimagine how we support San Francisco’s families. Professor Roberts started this discussion with our community in 2020, and we are thrilled she is back so that we can imagine a way forward together.”

Roberts, a professor of civil rights law at the University of Pennsylvania, is an outspoken critic of racism and racial discrepancies in child welfare policies, which she likens to “family policing.” She makes an urgent call for abolishing the current system and developing a reimagined system designed to better protect children, families, and communities – through improved child care, financial resources, and more access to housing, nutrition, education, and comprehensive health care.

“For too long, Black families and youth have been subjected to systemic racism by U.S. welfare programs,” says Roberts. “Instead of meeting the widespread unmet needs of Black children due to structural inequities, the child welfare system is policing their families and spending billions of dollars to tear them apart. It’s time to radically change the way San Francisco and other cities address children’s wellbeing and move from family policing to a reimagined approach that truly supports families and keeps children safe.”

Join SFCASA, Homeless Prenatal Program, The Bar Association of San Francisco, and Roberts for a night of meaningful discussion around this important topic at the Bayview Opera House today at 5.00 PM. To purchase tickets to attend in-person or via Livestream, visit this registration link.

If you’re interested in making an immediate impact, SFCASA is looking for people to volunteer their time and serve as advocates to mentor and serve foster children. See for more information.

About San Francisco CASA
SFCASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to training and supporting Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) who serve the youth in San Francisco’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. Through advocacy and mentorship, SFCASA helps transform the lives of youth displaced in foster care, by providing a consistent, caring, and safe support system.

About The Bar Association of San Francisco
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, task forces and its community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation.

BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.

About Homeless Prenatal Program
The Homeless Prenatal Program is a nationally-recognized family resource center in San Francisco that empowers homeless and low-income families, particularly mothers motivated by pregnancy and parenthood, to find within themselves the strength and confidence they need to transform their lives. HPP serves over 3,500 low-income and homeless families annually, providing a variety of programs and services to help families become healthy, stable and self-sufficient.

About Dorothy Roberts
Dorothy E. Roberts is an American sociologist, law professor, and social justice advocate. She is the Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about Roberts visit

Paxton Mittleman
Mission North