Uprooting the Drug War Discussion Series: Child Welfare, the Drug War, and Family Separation

Drug Policy Alliance is thrilled to co-host this webinar with Movement for Family Power.

The drug war harms everyone and impacts all aspects of our lives, including our families. The drug war breaks up families and removes children from their homes. In the child welfare system, any real or suspected drug use is deemed child abuse, regardless of context or actual harm to the child. This has resulted in the demonization, surveillance, and punishment of parents, specifically mothers of color, and has led to children being taken from their families. Drug use has become one of the most common allegations in child maltreatment and neglect investigations despite little evidence connecting drug use and inability to care for children. Pregnant people, especially low-income people of color, are routinely drug tested, often without their consent. Drug use is used as a justification to claim child abuse or to force parents into abstinence-based drug treatment, even when a person does not have a substance use disorder.

This webinar brings together advocates, researchers, and directly impacted people to explore the ways in which the drug war has infiltrated the child welfare system and to generate solutions for reform. It is the first in a series of six webinars about DPA’s new initiative, Uprooting the Drug War.

Moderator: Lisa Sangoi, Movement for Family Power


  • Elizabeth Brico, Freelance Writer and Journalism Fellow at Talk Poverty
  • Khiara M. Bridges, UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Blaque Women Rising and Repeal ASFA steering committee
  • Kima Taylor, Anka Consulting LLC
  • Louise Vincent, Urban Survivors Union

Watch more of this discussion series.

Strengthening Families
Uprooting the Drug War