Are child protection service (CPS) agencies doing more harm than good?

Join us for an in-depth conversation with sociologist Kelly Fong about her book, Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services. We explore the inner workings of Child Protection Services (CPS), the impact on families, and the need for systemic change.

Plus, we replay a segment from our 2022 interview with Emi Nietfield, author of the memoir Acceptance, about overcoming childhood trauma and the foster care system.

And we recommend a new children’s book for Father’s Day!

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Key Words: Child Protective Services, CPS, child welfare, family separation, poverty, social inequality, family policy, Emi Nietfield, Kelly Fong, podcast, book podcast, author interview

Kelly Fong, Investigating Families Interview Highlights

  • The disproportionate impact of CPS on low-income mothers and mothers of color
  • The fear and destabilization caused by CPS investigations
  • The vagueness of child abuse and neglect definitions
  • The need for alternative approaches to child protection
  • The importance of economic support and social infrastructure in preventing child maltreatment
  • Personal stories from mothers impacted by CPS

About The Author

Kelly Fong teaches sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services (Princeton University Press) is her first book.

Key Quote

“The challenges that families face are not limited to…clinical or therapeutic challenges. For the vast majority of families entangled in the system, the root of many of the needs that they have is poverty, is adversity.” — Kelly Fong

Emi Nietfield, ACCEPTANCE

In the Fall of 2022, we spoke with Emi Nietfield about her powerful memoir, Acceptance. It chronicles her struggles as a teenager and young adult to rise above the poverty and abuse she suffered as a child, despite a child protection system that was anything but protective of children. We play an extended excerpt from that conversation.

Listen to the full interview

A Book for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up and we have just the book to recommend: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.

It’s from the prolific, award-winning children’s book author,  Lesléa Newman, with charming illustrations by A.G. Ford. Featuring fathers who are strong in a gentle way, it’s a celebration of what fathers and sons do together — like cooking, camping and gardening. It also models what a good dad is like.

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About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.