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Nov 15 2023

Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services w/ Kelley Fong

November 15, 2023

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


BSB 4105


1007 W Harrison Street, Room 4105, Chicago, IL 60607



Investigating Families Book Cover

Kelley Fong (UCI Sociology) will be speaking about her new book, Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services this Fall.

In Investigating Families, Kelley Fong provides an unprecedented look at the inner workings of CPS and the experiences of families pulled into its orbit. Drawing on firsthand observations of CPS investigations and hundreds of interviews with those involved, Fong traces the implications of invoking CPS as a “first responder” to family misfortune and hardship. She shows how relying on CPS—an entity fundamentally oriented around parental wrongdoing and empowered to separate families—organizes the response to adversity around surveilling, assessing, and correcting marginalized mothers. The agency’s far-reaching investigative apparatus undermines mothers’ sense of security and shapes how they marshal resources for their families, reinforcing existing inequalities. And even before CPS comes knocking, mothers feel vulnerable to a system that jeopardizes their parenthood. Countering the usual narratives of punitive villains and hapless victims, Fong’s unique, behind-the-scenes account tells a revealing story of how we try to protect children by threatening mothers—and points the way to a more productive path for families facing adversity.


Rahim Kurwa

Date posted

Sep 18, 2023

Date updated

Nov 20, 2023