Children Belong with Family. Family separation is a traumatic experience that causes lifelong consequences for children, parents, and communities. It is an intervention that must be used extremely sparingly and only when no feasible alternatives exist to protect children from immediate harm if they remain with their parents or caregivers. The creation of feasible alternatives to family separation, and support for children’s lifelong familial relationships if separation is essential, are moral imperatives.


    Find Common Ground. As we work toward lasting change in entrenched systems that harm children and families, we value open dialogue and cooperation across the political spectrum. We strive to embody respect, understanding and appreciation for the values, diverse experiences, and commitments of our members, partners, and allies even when we disagree. We agree that collaborating on shared goals does not mean we endorse positions members may take outside the UFA collaboration. We value the relationships that we are building through our work.


    Communities Should Design their Own Solutions. Child welfare systems’ interventions regularly fail to match the identified needs of children, families and communities. Services are too often designed to meet the needs and resources of service providers, not of communities. This has led to a devastating number of families separated due to poverty-related circumstances when concrete, material support could have kept them together. We urge investment that invites communities to design their own solutions to the real priority needs of children and families.


    Elevate Expertise of Those Directly Impacted. The child welfare system must hear, elevate, and amplify the voices of those with personal experience with its interventions. Parents and children who have experienced child welfare intervention understand its impact most powerfully. As advocates for families, some with lived experience and many not, we recognize the imperative to listen to and heed many voices of directly affected parents and children as we do this work.


    Recognize Disparate Impact and Reduce Harm. We work to reduce the harm family separation causes, understanding that the child welfare system has imposed disproportionate, severe and enduring harms to poor, minority, and marginalized families, and especially in Black and Indigenous communities. We commit to using our resources to support the voices, experiences, and leadership of all families and communities harmed by the child welfare system.