About

  United Family Advocates is a bi-partisan group  of lawyers, journalists, social workers, and family and child advocates who come from polar positions on many current issues but agree important steps to start to reform the child weflare system to create a better and fairer system. It is essential to reform the way the child welfare system treats families--starting wth changes to federal policy that are long overdue.  

Our new comments on the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act reauthorization explain in detail what we believe and what we advocate.

Two of our Steering Committee members, NYU Law Professor Martin Guggenheim and Child Welfare Organizing Project Program Director Joyce McMillan, each of whom is a national leader advocating for families in the child welfare system (pictured here at the first-ever law school conference on family defense, held at CUNY Law School in April 2016).

Two of our Steering Committee members, NYU Law Professor Martin Guggenheim and Child Welfare Organizing Project Program Director Joyce McMillan, each of whom is a national leader advocating for families in the child welfare system (pictured here at the first-ever law school conference on family defense, held at CUNY Law School in April 2016).

OUR  REFORM AGENDA: 

United Family Advocates seeks specific policy changes to federal law and practices. These changes would: (1) limit removals of children to children who are truly in danger in their own homes;  (2) end harassing anonymous Hotline calls that waste precious resources; (3) end the confusion of poverty and neglect--starting with passage of our proposed bill Family Poverty is Not Child Neglect (HR  6233) and insure that child welfare programs provide support instead of separating families; and (4) encourage judges to exercise more discretion when parents are incarcerated and are trying to maintain a relationship with their children.

In addition, we seek to reform child protection investigation policies and practices that cause trauma to children and families and do not provide a balanced process for decisions that have life-long consequences for children. We are working to stop family separations that are mislabelled as "voluntary" and reform child abuse registers that operate as employment and licensing blacklists, often without affording the accused person a fair opportunity to have the evidence against them considered by a neutral adjudicator.  

Our work is focused on federal child protection policies, but our members are active at the state and local level too.  We are working hard to build our network of allies who believe that these reforms are urgently needed and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and partner with us. Please use our "contact" form to let us know how you might help strengthen our work on behalf of children and families.