Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Call for Papers

On March 26, 2021, the Columbia Journal of Race and Law will host a symposium, Strengthened Bonds: Abolishing the Child Welfare System and Re-Envisioning Child Well-Being.  The symposium honors the 20th anniversary of Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare by Dorothy Roberts and is co-chaired by Nancy Polikoff (American) and Jane Spinak (Columbia).  Professor Roberts will deliver the keynote address.

Since the publication of Shattered Bonds at the beginning of this century, reform efforts have focused on making the current child welfare system work better without fundamentally challenging its existence.  This symposium is an opportunity to critique this limited reform approach and consider radical change to re-imagine how society cares for and protects children while honoring their bonds to their families and communities.  The prison abolition movement has produced a robust body of scholarship.  Strengthened Bonds seeks to generate equally insightful, imaginative, and important scholarship in support of abolishing the child welfare system and creating a radically new approach to child well-being.

The organizers encourage papers from all disciplines and from community members and activists.  We will consider traditional articles, essays, and pairing authors with responders, as well as interest in participating in the symposium and then submitting a response.  The deadline for abstracts and expressions of interest is July 1, 2020.  The complete call for papers and instructions for submission of abstracts is on the Journal website.  For questions, email co-chairs Nancy Polikoff,, and Jane Spinak,

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