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Surveillance of Mothers Living in Poverty: Effects on Children, Families, and Communities

  • Kelley Fong and Darcey Merritt
  • May 15 2024
  • W112-2024

Darcey Merritt

Kelley Fong, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Darcey Merritt, Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, University of Chicago

Government agencies like Child Protective Services (CPS) are tasked with protecting vulnerable children. These agencies can assist children and families in need, but based on their research, our presenters say that the work of these systems also centrally involves surveillance of families, particularly poor families of color. How do mothers and their children—often navigating conditions of poverty and racism—experience this surveillance? And why are poor moms of color much more likely to be CPS involved? In this webinar, Dr. Darcey Merritt and Dr. Kelley Fong will draw on their extensive work with mothers whose parenting has been monitored by CPS and other agencies that often threaten the families they are supposed to help.

Recording of the Webinar

Additional Resources 

Presentation Slides (pdf file)


Child Maltreatment & Child Welfare System, Child Poverty, Children, Economic Support, Family & Partnering, Health, Health General, Inequality & Mobility, Means-Tested Programs, Parenting, Racial/Ethnic Inequality


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